City leaders advocating for major funding for 148th Fighter Wing

Published: Apr. 6, 2022 at 9:47 PM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. (KBJR 6) -- The 148th Fighter Wing is the 8th largest employer in Duluth, creating more than 1,100 jobs.

Now, the city council and chamber of commerce are advocating for a bill at the capitol that leaders said is needed to keep it going strong.

The mission of the new bill in St. Paul: invest in the people who protect our freedom.

“This legislation is really an opportunity for the state to give back to the National Guard and reinvest in the future after they have done so much for us,” said Jennifer Cady, a 20 year retired veteran of the 148th and Chair of the Military Affairs Committee (MAC) of the Duluth Chamber of Commerce.

Cady said it’s crucial to give the Fighter Wing the best tools and facilities possible.

MAC is leading the charge to ask the state for $25 million in investments to improve the infrastructure and facility of the 148th Fighter Wing.

“That would help them build new aircraft hangars that would be modern, and would position them for the chance to get a new aircraft down the road, which would help us maintain the base here in town,” said Duluth City Council President Arik Forsman.

The city council is adding a new resolution to show their support for the proposed funding and let lawmakers in St. Paul know how important the money is.

“The state has a large surplus and communities across the state are competing for these funds,” Forsman said. “I think the 148th is something that has very strong bipartisan support so I think there’s optimism that we could see this project move forward.”

It’s a potential investment both Forsman and Cady said would also serve as a thank you to local military members.

“There is truly nothing better than community support of you and your unit and your family,” Cady said. “In particular times like this when the unit is deployed and we’ve got members overseas.”

More than 300 airmen from the 148th are deploying this spring to support the ongoing mission in the U.S. Central Command.

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