Sen. Jeff Bingaman reappointed to serve on Senate committee

Courtesy photo Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M.

Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., was reappointed to the Senate Armed Forces Committee March 9.

He served on the committee from 1983 to 2000, then again in 2001 for a year. He left the panel when he joined the Senate Finance Committee. Bingaman was asked to re-join the panel to maintain the ratio of Democrats to Republicans after newly-elected Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, R-Conn., sought appointment to the committee.

Bingaman will serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee for the remainder of the 111th Congress, which ends in December.

What are your goals for your time on the committee?

The Committee is trying to make some decisions about the long-term military posture of the country, particularly in regard to nuclear issues. These issues are very important for New Mexico. I’m hoping to work on base structures such as construction of needed facilities at Cannon Air Force Base and other bases in our state.

What are you hoping to provide for Cannon?

The top priority for Cannon is getting another dormitory so I’ll try to help with that. They would like to see a squadron operations facility, family support center, wash rack hangar and other facilities. Those are the projects that are priorities.

Is there anything you or other members of the local Congressional delegation can do to help ensure there is adequate and affordable housing in the Clovis and Portales area for incoming Cannon personnel?

We’ve had several meetings with the Air Force to try to get their attention to that problem. They do have some ability to provide support such as long-term commitments for housing. We’re trying to get more of that done in connection with Cannon. We are working to provide Cannon with an additional dormitory. It’s going to be a challenge for the next couple of years as the number of people coming into Cannon increases. The Clovis and Portales communities are going to have to accelerate the construction of housing and get to the point of having a housing stock there.

Approximately how much in terms of dollars has been appropriated for expansion at Cannon?

• $14 million for a 96-room dormitory

• $20 million for squadron operations facility

• $13.287 million to add simulator facility for MC-130J

• $26 million for C-130 parking apron phase I

• $12.636 million for aircraft parking apron for MC-130J

• $24.622 million for Hanger/AMU for MC-130J

• $39.674 million for operations and training complex