2011 DC Fly-In Visit

July 8, 2011

The Greater OKC Chamber staff spent several months coordinating the 2011 DC Fly-In agenda and speakers to address economic development, education, transportation, Tinker Air Force Base (TAFB) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The staff arranged 30 minute sessions with Senators James Inhofe and Tom Coburn and Representatives Tom Cole, Frank Lucas, James Lankford, Dan Boren and John Sullivan in the Library of Congress, Members of Congress Room Wednesday June 22. Ideal Homes sent me as a representative of the company for this year's trip. Interesting side note: It is rumored Twitter will turn over archives to the Library of Congress to help document for future generations how our current generations lived on a daily basis. "Doing more with less is taking its toll on our troops and their equipment." - Senator Inhofe regarding defense budget cuts. TAFB employs more than 16,000 military, civilian and contract employees. TAFB Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center (OC-ALC) is the largest one of only three nationwide; it supports 93 Air Force bases. Defense budget cuts directly impact the OC-ALC's ability to support military aircraft; Oklahoma City employees could potentially lose work. On a personal level the DC Fly-In was exciting. Upon arrival at the airport a couple of us had the privilege of riding with Representative Lankford into the Cannon House Office Building parking garage. June 21, 2011 I stepped onto DC streets for the first time exiting this building. That evening included dinner in Georgetown and time spent down by the Potomac River. June 22 began with a personalized tour of the United States Capitol entering through the Senate Russell Office Building. That evening afforded me the opportunity to personally extend "thank you" greetings to Lieutenant General Loren M. Reno, Major General P. David Gillett Jr. and Secretary of the Air Force, Michael B. Donley, at the Reception on the Hill. After our morning agenda on June 23 a few of us ended our trip with a tour of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. We went straight from the museum to the airport. My heart ached from the blatant disregard for humanity and the perpetuation of that disregard by media and propaganda in Hitler's time. Conversely I felt encouraged by having met powerful leaders and humble servants of our country knowing they choose daily to sacrifice for our greater good.
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