WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - A senator's visit to Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls could have a big impact on the country's military defense budget. Senator John Cornyn will be taking a tour of Sheppard AFB, talking with military leaders about on the bases impact on America's military readiness, and then speaking with Wichita Falls Mayor Stephen Santellana about its impact on the community.
"When he comes here and he sees what he needs to see and he leaves here with positive thoughts, we know that's going to translate down in Washington," said Mayor Santellana.
While no one in Wichita Falls wants to think about the next BRAC(Base Realignment and Close Act) in 2021, Mayor Santellana knows that if Senator Cornyn's visit goes well it could help re-enforce SAFB's relevance in Washington.
"We want to showcase Sheppard Air Force Base so the next time something like that comes up, he is getting with Mac Thornberry or someone that's on a military committee, and he can express his opinion that Sheppard Air Force Base is needed for this town, and it's top notch," said Mayor Santellana.
Mayor Santellana says losing SAFB to a BRAC would be crippling to the community.
"It would be the most devastating thing to our economy. I think that some of the stats show one out of eight jobs in the area come out of Sheppard. It's impactful, and you know everybody has a friend or a family member that works out there," said Mayor Santellana.
Senator Cornyn is scheduled to visit, tour, and host a round table discussion at SAFB on Tuesday morning.
"Every time they exit, we want them saying the same thing: Wichita Falls is such a great community. I'm glad I'm here. I want the senator to think the same thing. We want to be welcoming, and I'm sure most people are welcoming, but I want him to walk away knowing that Wichita Falls and Sheppard Air Force Base go hand in hand," said Santellana.