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Military communities need certainty

Friends of Stewart/Hunter

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POSTED: December 16, 2013 11:00 p.m.

‘Outlook unclear, ask again later’
Oh, the famous Magic 8 Ball that we all looked into as children, hoping against hope that it would give us the positive answer we needed to continue our daily lives. The only thing worse than receiving a negative response to your life-altering, all-important question was seeing the “ask again later” phrase appear in that little window.
If we asked the ball today about the outcome for our current budget crisis, the all-knowing window would show “Outlook unclear, ask again later.”
An uncertain answer may cause even more to become disheartened with our government. The fact that our elected representatives continue to battle it out and meet at a deadlock is the beauty of the American system. Yes, it causes problems and confuses the American people, but at the same time ask yourself: Do you want your elected official to give in on an issue you are against?
The government needs to reach an agreement soon. The deadline for another round of sequestration and across-the-board budget cuts quickly is approaching. Another government shutdown looms on the horizon. Americans are tired of hearing the doom and gloom and want answers from their politicians. The constant finger-pointing over the current crisis continues in Washington. No one wants to give in on the issues that constitute their political party’s core values.
Will the government reach an agreement and make a budget by the deadline? Currently, all signs point to no. However, this does not mean that we are heading into a financial catastrophe. The government has not worked under a firm budget in the past four years. The House and Senate have continued to make deals and concessions to keep the government working until a budget deal can be reached.
This year, we watched two political parties draw the proverbial line in the sand, and both sides refused to budge. All of America witnessed the stalemate that resulted in the government shutdown. What America did not see were the different factions within each party that reached out to form smaller groups to discuss the budget and possible deals. These smaller groups worked together, despite their party allegiance, to find a way to end the shutdown and pave the road for a better working relationship between  parties.
Southeast Georgia Friends of Fort Stewart and Hunter hosted a Progress through People Luncheon in November. Representatives from the offices of Sens. Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss, Maj. Gen. John M. Murray, Col. Kevin F. Gregory and Mayor James Thomas led a panel discussion on our current budget crisis and possible outcomes to the ongoing negotiations. Jared Downs of Isakson’s office said that while the long-term goal is a balanced budget deal, right now both sides continue to focus on the short-term goal to keep the government from shutting down and not have another round of sequestration cuts.
One of the questions posed to the panel was what could we do as a community if another round of sequestration cuts occur to prevent anything from happening to our base. Murray, who was stationed in the Pentagon during the last round of sequestration, stated that one of the biggest benefits that Fort Stewart and Hunter had was an active group such as the Southeast Georgia Friends of Fort Stewart and Hunter that it shows a symbiotic relationship between the civilians and the bases in this area.
A group from Southeast Georgia Friends of Fort Stewart and Hunter travel to Washington every few months to meet with Pentagon representatives  and lawmakers to show the support our civilian community has for the military. This show of support prevented a major loss of soldiers and allowed our remaining brigades to be restructured so that they could house the majority of the 2nd Brigade, which was cut.
We at Southeast Georgia Friends of Fort Stewart and Hunter are asking everyone to get involved. The uncertainty of the fiscal future means that we must stay vigilant and ready to fight any decision that will negatively affect our bases. We need you.
Now is the time to act. Join the movement to keep our region solvent and invest in the Southeast Georgia Friends of Fort Stewart and Hunter. For more information, go to www.friendsofftstewartandhunter.com.

Hughes is the finance assistant for the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce.

 

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