The5th meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Seniors, Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection was held on Thursday, November 6, 2008, at 1:00 PM, in Muldraugh, KY. Representative Tanya Pullin, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Elizabeth Tori, Co-Chair; Representative Tanya Pullin, Co-Chair; Senators Carroll Gibson, Denise Harper Angel, Joey Pendleton, Dorsey Ridley, Dick Roeding, Dan Seum, and Jack Westwood; Representatives Sheldon E. Baugh,† Dwight D. Butler, Larry Clark, Tim Couch, Ron Crimm, Bill Farmer, David Floyd, Jeff Greer, Jimmie Lee, Fred Nesler, Steve Riggs, Tom Riner, Sal Santoro, Charles Siler, Dottie Sims, Ancel Smith, John Tilley, and Alecia Webb-Edgington.
Guests:† Clinton Meshew, Mildred Meshew, Paul Schlisser, NCOA; Ronnie L. Boggs, Kathi Marshall, Geoff Pinkerton, Office of State Budget Director; Wendell Lawrence, Sherry Johnson, Brad Richardson, Lincoln Trail ADD; Darrell Roberts, Larry Roberts, Helmets to Hardhats; Laura Owens, WKU; Bobbie Smith, JECVO; Patricia LaChance, VFW Ladies Auxiliary; Lawrence Winburn, Phillip Knight, Laborers Union; and Col. Eric Schwartz, Garrison Commander, Fort Knox.
LRC Staff:† Erica Warren, CSA, Mustapha Jammeh, Andrew Coyle, and Rhonda Schierer.
Co-Chair Pullin asked committee members to review minutes from the October committee meeting for approval, which were approved by a unanimous voice vote upon a motion and a second.
Co-Chair Pullin called upon Co-Chair Tori to read a resolution for a fallen soldier, Sergeant William Patrick Rudd, and Rep. Alecia Webb-Edgington to read a resolution for a fallen soldier, Sergeant Daniel Wayne Wallace, who lost their lives in the global war on terrorism. Co-Chair Pullin called upon Rep. Greer to read a resolution in memory of the late Rep. Larry Belcher, a Vice Chair of the Seniors, Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection Committee. Co-Chair Pullin presented a resolution in memory of the late Rep. Jim Bruce. The committee stood in a moment of silence in honor of the soldiers and Representatives. All four resolutions were adopted by a unanimous voice vote upon a motion and a second.
Co-Chair Pullin called on Darrell Roberts, Executive Director, Helmets to Hardhats. Darrell Roberts introduced Larry Roberts, State Director, Kentucky State Building & Construction Trades Council. Larry Roberts said it was an honor to travel the United States to talk to veterans about the building trades and opportunities for various apprenticeship programs, and showed a video focusing on the experiences of participants from Kentucky. Mr. Roberts briefed the committee on Helmets to Hardhats and referenced the power point handout in membersí folders. Mr. Roberts stated that the Department of Defense funds Helmets to Hardhats and that the program offers military veterans an opportunity to establish a lifelong career in the construction industry by providing a direct link to military job seekers. He added that veterans can access the programís careers and apprenticeships via internet anywhere in the world, and they cater to building and construction trades, and working with quality employers. They have 5 field representatives throughout the U.S., work with 15 building and construction trade organizations, and their employer associations represent over 82,000 contractors and 85 apprentice crafts. Mr. Roberts added that they have a wounded warrior program to support disabled veteran employment and there are approximately 5,800 veterans currently seeking employment that resides in the I-65 corridor between Louisville and Elizabethtown. He stated that Helmets to Hardhats will hold a construction career training in the Fort Knox area in 2009.
Mr. Roberts finished his Power Point presentation by discussing the Montgomery GI Bill listing the increased educational assistance allowance as of August 1, 2009. He added that for further information and assistance, members and veterans could go to their website at www.helmetstohardhats.org or call 866-741-6210.
Co-Chair Pullin asked if Helmets to Hardhats uses any of the state veterans or military affairs official websites to promote the program with a link or any other information. Darrell Roberts stated that the national program does use these types of websites in Arizona, Alaska, and Washington State, but the program is not on the Kentucky military websites but they will work with the appropriate groups to try to make it happen in Kentucky.
Sen. Harper Angel asked if the Helmets to Hardhats program use public service announcements on television through such companies as Insight. Darrell Roberts stated that the program is promoted on public service radio.
Co-Chair Pullin introduced the new Garrison Commander at Fort Knox, Col. Eric Schwartz, and asked him to give an update on BRAC. Col. Schwartz stated that before he talked about BRAC, he wanted to talk about soldiers, families, and the Army. He stated that the soldiers are either deployed, deploying, or waiting to deploy and he discussed the latest simulators and technologies they have at Fort Knox to train their soldiers. Col. Schwartz stated that many of the soldiers that have been in the service for 5 years have spent 3 years of it in Iraq and said that is the life of soldiers today and it is tough because it is out of balance. Col. Schwartz stated that the Army and Fort Knox is in the process of rebalancing which is BRAC, Base Realignment and Continuation. He added that the Army has a lot of small satellite installations that have been around for many years that were not efficient or effective and it was time for them to close and/or consolidate with larger installations such as Fort Knox. He stated that Fort Knox has a lot of really good things for families of soldiers to do while their soldiers are deployed but that the first and foremost job is to protect and provide for these families, †as soldiers are in and out of Fort Knox with multiple deployments. Col. Schwartz stated that they are building remarkable homes for their soldiers and families to live in and that in 2010 Fort Knox will have received the a $200 million Human Resource Complex which is a mega center of human resource capabilities. They will be bringing in about 4,000 members of a workforce for that complex. He added that in 2010 they will go from a population of 22,000 to 34,000 which is a challenge.
Sen. Seum asked what the current total population is at Fort Knox.† Col. Schwartz stated that 24,000 is an estimated total daytime population at Fort Knox.
Rep. Greer asked Col. Schwartz for an updated estimate of how many civilian jobs will be created at Fort Knox due to BRAC. Col. Schwartz stated there will be 2,700 vacancies for civilian jobs over the next 2 years.
Co-Chair Tori asked about current recruiting and what it is like. †Col. Schwartz stated that the Army is reaching its recruiting goals and that the typical enlistee is now an older recruit between the age of 23 to 31, many of whom are married with children.
Sen. Gibson asked where are the approximately 4,000 troops coming from that will arrive at Fort Knox.† Col. Schwartz stated that they will be returning from Afghanistan.
Co-Chair Pullin called on Brad Richardson, Executive Director, One Knox and Wendell Lawrence, Executive Director, Lincoln Trail ADD for an update on One Knox. Mr. Richardson started the update on One Knox by referencing a PowerPoint presentation in the membersí folders. He discussed the One Knox mission statement, primary goals, and their communication and outreach. He stated that in September and October they hosted 80 HRC civilian personnel who came to their area and spent 3 days looking at schools, houses, hospitals, and going on post. They have hosted others on these tours as well. There will be approximately 1,500 new jobs in IT and HR administration available by 2012.
The Economic Impact Analysis performed in December 2007 found that there will be over 20,000 military and civilian jobs at Fort Knox by 2012, with a population gain of over 14,000, to include 6,000 new households for the entire impact region, and more than $300 million in new payroll, which will then exceed $1 billion. The state tax revenue generated during BRAC period through 2011 will exceed $385 million.
Wendell Lawrence discussed a growth management plan and stated that the economic impact of BRAC compares to that of Toyota. Mr. Lawrence discussed major recommendations for joint land use in developing regionalism throughout the Fort Knox area, developing and fostering regional compatible land use, fostering economic prosperity, and supporting regional transportation planning as it relates to military/civilian growth. Mr. Lawrence discussed a health and human services analysis which is ongoing and stated that their local health department is chairing a planning committee.
Rep. Crimm asked if they have a group in Jefferson County to promote employment with jobs associated with BRAC. Mr. Lawrence stated that they are working with the Kentuckiana Works group.
Rep. Clark asked about the six educational projects Mr. Lawrence mentioned. Mr. Lawrence stated that all 6 are building projects aimed at mitigating the increased demands on the school system in the area.
Sen. Roeding asked if the $385 million was all new money coming into the state.† Mr. Richardson stated that that figure includes money that is here now and what come as a result on BRAC.
Co-Chair Pullin asked about the status of the $100 million dollar appropriation from the General Assembly for BRAC. Mr. Lawrence stated that 50% of the appropriation is to be used for transportation issues and the remaining 50% is assigned to other infrastructure issues.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned.