Senior Arkansas Senator John Boozman (R-Ark.) praised the workforce at the Pine Bluff Arsenal Thursday and expressed strong support for an effort by the City of White Hall to back the arsenal.

Senior Arkansas Senator John Boozman (R-Ark.) praised the workforce at the Pine Bluff Arsenal Thursday and expressed strong support for an effort by the City of White Hall to back the arsenal.


After a visit to the arsenal Thursday morning, Boozman spoke to a large group that had gathered at the James "Jitters" Morgan Community Center, where members of the newly formed Military Affairs Advisory Committee or MAAC were formally introduced.


The committee was appointed by White Hall Mayor Noel Foster, who said it was formed to "help grow the mission of the arsenal and support national security."


"Those people out there are highly skilled at their jobs and they have been doing it for a long time," Foster said. "We’re going to do everything we can to support their mission and what they mean to this area."


In his brief address, Boozman said he has been traveling all over the state visiting various military instillation’s and talking to veterans groups.


"There’s been a lot of talk about base closings and realignments, but I don’t think the Congress has the stomach for that," he said. "Of all the things that we do in government, national defense has got to be at the top of the list. We need to spend what it will take to keep us safe."


Boozman said the arsenal produces "a lot of expensive, dangerous things," including items currently used by U.S. Special Forces, which they have been doing so for a long time.


"We’re blessed to have this facility," he said. "It’s important to the region and important to the country."


In addition to its importance to the military, Boozman also talked about the economic impact the arsenal has on the are. The facility has an annual payroll of about $60 million and an overall economic impact of more than $82 million annually.


"It’s about jobs and it’s about national security, and we’re going to do everything we can to support that,"Boozman said.


Before Boozman spoke, White Hall Alderman David Beck, who is serving as chairman of the Military Affairs Advisory Committee, said one of it’s purposes is to draw the two communities (White Hall and the arsenal) together.


"No one can tell our story like we can," Beck said. "It’s a story about the two communities."