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Defense Secretary Panetta accepts invitation to visit Niagara Falls Air Base

WBFO News file photo

U.S. Department of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will be in Western New York this Thursday.

Representative Kathy Hochul (NY-26) announced Monday that Panetta will travel to the region to visit the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station. 

Secretary Panetta is scheduled to arrive on Thursday to tour the base and meet with base personnel as well as state and federal officials to discuss the Air Base and its future.

“After working closely with Secretary Panetta over the past year, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to tour the Air Base with him personally. As the sole military installation in the area, the Air Reserve Station plays a vital role in protecting the security of our nation, our region, and our local community. I am looking forward to the opportunity to show the Secretary the strategic importance of the Niagara Air Base.”

Credit WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley
Representative Kathy Hochul (NY-26) in WBFO & AM-970 studio

Hochul met with Panetta in March to extend a personal invitation.  She wants Panetta to see first-hand the role the base plays not only in protecting the nation, but how it serves the local economy. 

Hochul has been leading the fight in the House to push back on severe cuts proposed by the Department of Defense.  She has met regularly with senior military leadership, including Secretary Panetta, and has worked closely with the Western New York Congressional delegation to ensure the 107th Air Wing maintains a strong presence at NFARS. 

Additionally, Hochul co-sponsored an amendment included in the National Defense Authorization Act that protects installations like the 107th Airlift Wing at the Niagara Falls Air Base. The provision was adopted by the House of Representatives.