Thursday, March 3, we welcomed military leaders to the Capitol for Military Appreciation and Awareness Day, an informative event that let officials learn about ways we can support our men and women in uniform. It was a great honor to welcome these military leaders from around the state and learn about programs and issues concerning our military.
I am very proud that Missouri is known as a military-friendly state. Our men and women in the Armed Forces are the courage and backbone of our nation. In addition, Missouri’s military bases provide an enormous $40 billion economic impact by being one of the top employers.
The Whiteman Air Force base houses nearly 4,000 soldiers, including more than 2,000 reserve members, and employs 2,120 civilians. That doesn’t even include the almost 6,000 family members who also live on or near the base. Every one of those individuals spends money in our state, injecting much needed consumer spending into our economy.
Fort Leonard Wood is Missouri’s sixth largest employer. In addition, some 200,000 people visit it every year for military graduations. Those citizens stay in local hotels and eat in local restaurants. It’s a huge boost to the surrounding region, bringing in much-needed revenue.
Of course, military members’ contributions to Missouri go far beyond dollar figures. The presence of these service members add to the heritage of the state. They serve with honor, and we should be proud to have them based in Missouri. Even after leaving service, many of these soldiers continue to serve our state and its citizens.
I hope my colleagues join me in advocating for measures that help our veterans, active duty forces, National Guard, reserve, and all military personnel, including their families, who often endure months of worry as their loved ones serve overseas. These upstanding members of our military are valuable to the future of Missouri. We need to join together and do all we can to ensure our military continues to play an important part in our state.
As always, I encourage my constituents to contact me throughout the year with comments, questions or suggestions by calling my office at (573) 751-5713. To find more information about the bills I sponsor, visit www.senate.mo.gov/brown. Thank you for reading this and for your participation in state government.