2 Arizona Leaders Want To Bring U.S. Space Command Headquarters To Peoria
LAUREN GILGER: Arizona Reps. Paul Gosar and Debbie Lesko are hoping Peoria will be the site of the new U.S. Space Command headquarters. The Space Command, an offshoot of the Defense Department, was recently resurrected by President Trump. The two Republicans nominated Peoria, arguing its location, climate, affiliation with major aerospace companies and Arizona's academic institutions make it an ideal place for such an operation. I got a hold of Congressman Gosar recently to talk more about why Peoria, and what it would bring to the Phoenix suburb as well.
PAUL GOSAR: It's one of the suburbs of Phoenix, it's 10 miles away from one of the most — the largest Air Force fighter squadron, Luke Air Force Base. We got great weather, over 300 blue sky days. We are rich in aviation history and aerospace history. So why not? We should continue that pathway forward and it's a like, a very likely choice to be able to bring Space Command right here to Arizona.
GILGER: So this could really kind of change the face and identity of Peoria if this comes there. What kinds of benefits might it bring?
GOSAR: Well, first of all, you'd need a lot of support aspects in regards to the NAFTA for the aerospace. We do have a rich background — we're the third largest supply chain for defense and aerospace in the country. So, you know, we've got over 1200 Arizona-based companies that are associated with aerospace and the military. We've got great universities. We got Embry-Riddle up in Prescott in my neck of the woods. That's one of the top aeronautics aviation universities in the country. We've got ASU and UofA that have been working on Mars and the future of space exploration. You've got NAU that's also looking at aerophysics. So it is phenomenal. And so I think what you would see is definitely growth in the area. You'd actually see probably more industries coming to be associated with the aerospace industry there. So I think it's good to be really key. And it also would probably put some strain on infrastructure.
GILGER: Let's talk briefly about some of the resources that would be needed to build something like this. What kinds of infrastructure would we need to put into place? How many jobs might we be talking about, et cetera?
GOSAR: Well, it could be quite a few. It could be in the several hundreds, maybe even a thousand people at this — depends on how big they're going to make this and what kind of capacity they're going to put in this. So this could really put, put us on the map in regards to how things are — look at the job availability, the average wage accentuating because these are good paying jobs that will be associated with it. And, you know, there's also, there's the fact that you have to look at planning for, you know, housing a lot of these people that would be moving into the area and commuting and probably also be a nice jet-in-the-arm in regards to regular aviation as well.
GILGER: What's the timeframe for the decision process here, and who ultimately will make this decision?
GOSAR: Well, my understanding is it's going to be made by the Joint Chiefs. It may, may come down to just the Air Force. I don't know. We wrote the letter to Secretary Barrett so that we could be in the running. And I'm sure there's others that will be moving forward. I know that Congresswoman Lesko put also Youngtown and then also Glendale as options as well. I mean, we, we've got a lot of opportunity for us here, Lauren.
GILGER: Lastly, Congressman, while I have you on the line, I want to ask you briefly about the pandemic that our nation is facing right now. Do you think Congress will take any additional action to sort of battle the public health concerns we're seeing right now, but also the economic consequences we're seeing?
GOSAR: Well, I think, you know, the good news is, is that it looks like research and development has got some ideas in regards to whether it be medications that would actually mitigate some of the, the problems associated with COVID-19. There may be even a vaccine that comes about from a number of sources. I think that we will get a better understanding of this. And I think that we're building on that herd immunity because more and more people are coming in contact. And I don't think that's unexpected. I think that, that's part of the course. It's not about if you're gonna touch this virus, it's when. It's an interesting forte in what we've endured. And I think that Congress, from what I'm hearing, is being, preparing to do some type of another stimulus to help out individuals across this country and businesses. It would be nice to tie that, if they wanted to get a twofer, is that you had to get your census in, in order to get a check. So maybe that might be a benefit there.
GILGER: That is U.S. Congressman Paul Gosar joining us this morning. Congressman, thank you so much for the time.
GOSAR: You're welcome. Thanks, Lauren.