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Federal officials urged to pick Ohio military base for missile defense shield

By MARC KOVAC Capital Bureau Chief Published: May 28, 2017 12:00 AM

COLUMBUS -- State lawmakers are urging federal officials to pick a northeast Ohio military base for a planned missile defense shield.

Sens. Sean O'Brien (D-Bazetta) and John Eklund (R-Munson Township, in Geauga County) this week introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution 8, which calls on the U.S. Missile Defense Agency to pick the Camp Ravenna Joint Military Training Center near Newton Falls as the "preferred site for a future East Coast missile defense system."

The resolution notes that the base is "ready to accept being accepted as the site" with no concerns or foreseeable conflicts.

"Camp Ravenna being selected would provide positive economic growth in the otherwise economically depressed area due to increase in jobs and economic activity," it read.

O'Brien said the jobs that would be created by the project would be highly technical -- literally "rocket scientists" -- generating billions in economic activity and potentially bolstering the Youngstown Air Reserve Station.

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Plus, he said, "It would be of significant strategic importance to the United States. When you look at what's going on around the world with Russia, Korea, China, establishing a missile defense shield here I think would be very pertinent and very helpful to our country as well as to our local economy."

The two-page resolution is a symbolic move that would formalize lawmakers' position, with copies forwarded to federal officials, Ohio's congressional delegation and others. It awaits review and formal adoption by the Ohio Senate and House.

O'Brien said Camp Ravenna and sites in Michigan and New York are being considered for the project. Michigan, he said, has already hired lobbyists to focus on the project.

"We've got to be proactive here at the state level," he said.

Marc Kovac covers the Ohio Statehouse for Gatehouse Media. Contact him at mkovac@recordpub.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.


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