BOISE -- The controversy continues over talks of getting rid of the U.S. Air Force's A-10 Thunderbolt II program as the Department of Defense (DOD) looks to cut its budget.
More than 20 of the Idaho Air National Guard's planes are the A-10s, nicknamed Warthogs, that could be cut under the proposal.
Boise Mayor Dave Bieter has pledged to do everything he can to keep the A-10 program flying out of Boise's Gowen Field, along with its $60 to $80 million payroll. Bieter said this issue affects people across the Treasure Valley.
Bieter made a trip to Washington, D.C., to talk to Idaho's congressional delegation, senators from other states, and DOD officials about keeping the A-10 program.
I've been very impressed by Congressman Simpson, said Bieter. When we met with him he said, 'Well that's just not going to happen,' and he's been very up front, and has some seniority there in the House.
Bieter said Simpson has submitted comment to the defense appropriations.
Just recently Senator Crapo and Senator Risch have both signed on to a group of senators saying, 'Hold on to the A-10, it's a great aircraft, it's served us well,' said Bieter.
However, Boise's mayor wants more from Representative Labrador.
It's been quiet with Congressman Labrador, said Bieter. We're concerned about that he really hasn't said much of anything. Gowen Field is in his district.
Bieter would like Labrador to take action on the A-10 issue.
We want him. We need all hands on deck, we need a unified front, Bieter said.
Labrador's office said he is actively engaged in the issue and supportive of keeping the A-10s.
A statement from Labrador's office said:
The Idaho Delegation is united in supporting the A-10, and Rep. Labrador has been working closely with the Guard and the Air Force to determine what makes the most sense going forward.
His staff said he recently met with Major General Gary Sayler, Commanding General for the Idaho National Guard, about the A-10, and joined a conference call with Governor Otter, and the rest of the delegation about the attack jets.
Early next month, Labrador will join the rest of the delegation in welcoming General Mark A. Welsh III, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, to Mountain Home Air Force Base.