BRAC Commission Votes to Save Ellsworth Base
The BRAC commission this morning voted to remove South Dakota’s Ellsworth Air Force Base from the Pentagon’s closure list.
The base closing commission voted Friday to keep open Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota Ã¢€” rejecting the Pentagon’s plan to close it Ã¢€” as the panel labored toward conclusion of a politically delicate task that has brought alternating sighs of relief and exasperation in communities across America.
The surprise decision was a setback for Pentagon leaders, a blessing for South Dakotans who feared losing some 4,000 jobs, and a victory for Sen. John Thune and the state’s other politicians who lobbied vigorously to save the base. Thune, a freshman Republican, unseated then-Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle partly on the strength of his claim that he would be better positioned to help save the base.
Thune would almost certainly have been a one-termer had this not happened, even though it’s largely out of his hands. But he knew that when he made the empty promises during the campaign..