CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Local, state and federal officials met in Washington D.C. Thursday to discuss the proposed cuts at Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee.
The Air Force announced earlier this year that half of Westover’s C-5 fleet will be moved to Texas, resulting in the loss of 59 full-time jobs and 275 reserve positions in Chicopee. Neal told 22News those 59 full-time employees could be moved to different positions within the base.
Congressman Richard Neal and Chicopee Mayor Richard Kos met with Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James to make a case for preserving jobs and planes at Westover.
“I think the most important component today was the fact that local, state and federal officials on behalf of Westover and Barnes and really the state as a whole really spoke together,” said Mayor Kos.
Congressman Neal told 22News, “I pointed out to her today, there’s a new air traffic control tower. There’s new housing on the base. There’s a new recruiting center. You know, 15 years ago people were talking about Westover closing. Nobody is talking about that today.”
Congressman Neal told 22News the cuts are not a “done deal” yet. He hopes to find a compromise that will keep the C-5’s at Westover.