Governor M. Jodi Rell today blasted a 58-40 vote in the U.S. Senate to strip $1.75 billion in funding for seven additional F-22 Raptor fighter planes, but said the effort to preserve the program – which has major implications for Connecticut’s aerospace industry – is far from ended.
“This is a seriously short-sighted decision – but fortunately it is not the final verdict,” Governor Rell said. “I will continue working with the Connecticut Congressional delegation to ensure the F-22 program not only survives but thrives. As concerned as I am about the Connecticut economy – and the F-22 means thousands of jobs at suppliers large and small – this is first and foremost a question about national defense. We need the Raptor, especially when many nations have developed or purchased aircraft that can compete effectively with the aging F-15 fighter.
“Of course, it is an ill-considered decision from an economic standpoint as well,” the Governor said. “The F-22 is powered by jet engines made at Pratt & Whitney and includes components from numerous Connecticut manufacturers. In all, almost 100,000 jobs around the country have a direct or indirect link to the F-22 program. We must make sure we continue to support the skills, experience and insight of our aerospace industry.
“In the midst of the greatest economic turmoil since the Great Depression – and at a time when Congress has approved countless hundreds of billions of dollars in stimulus funding and bailouts for banks and automotive manufacturers – I cannot understand why this relatively small amount of money is seen as a stumbling block,” Governor Rell said. “I appreciate the efforts of Senators Dodd and Lieberman today and I know that all the members of the Connecticut delegation are as committed as I am to maintaining our technological superiority and preserving these jobs.”