Virginia senator pitches Pickett
Published 9:40 pm Monday, April 23, 2007
Warner says his state would ‘welcome’ OLF
By NIKIE MAYO
As North Carolina’s senior senator recently opposed an outlying landing field in Washington and Beaufort counties, one of her Virginian colleagues urged the Navy to give his state a second glance.
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., said an OLF at Site C “is simply not feasible,” when she wrote to Navy Secretary Donald Winter last week. Dole urged Winter to consider other “operationally viable” sites in North Carolina.
On the heels of that Thursday letter, U.S. Sen. John Warner, a Virginia Republican, offered an option of his own — Virginia’s Fort Pickett.
Warner, too, wrote to Winter, saying that he had “learned of” Dole’s letter and the Navy’s maintained preference for Site C.
Fort Pickett was turned over to the Virginia National Guard in the mid-1990s. The facility is in rural, southeastern Virginia. Situated near the town of Blackstone, it’s about 100 miles northwest of Virginia Beach, Va.
Warner said Fort Pickett’s rural location “offers the characteristics desired by the Navy for night carrier landing training.”
Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., is working on correspondence of his own.
He’s working on a “dear colleague” letter, his spokesman Ken Willis said Monday.
Butterfield, whose congressional district includes Washington County, hopes to garner support for legislative language that keeps the Navy away from Site C.
A draft of that plan should be ready by early next month, Willis said.