By Christine Cribb
The mission of the Greater Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce is to serve and promote the business interests of greater Whidbey Island. We cannot imagine a more worthy cause than supporting the mission of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, the largest employer within three counties. NAS Whidbey Island provides over 9,000 military and civilian jobs with a total economic activity generated in this area equalling nearly $1.04 billion. Jets truly do equal jobs.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion, and all opinions should be respected. However, all Whidbey Island residents, like COER, “choose” to call Whidbey Island their home. Businesses are outraged that a small group of self-interested, divisive activists are promoting their limited special interests over the greater national good.
Attorney General Robert Ferguson’s decision to file suit against the Navy under the pretext of “protecting the rights” of a small group of activists appears to be nothing more than “political grandstanding” and a runup to his own political aspirations.
This lawsuit is ill-advised and fails to even consider the critical carrier landing practice needs of our men and women who fly the aircraft that protect our freedom. When you sue the federal government, you are suing the American taxpayer. What a waste of taxpayer money. Particularly when the persons lobbying for this action are focused more on their property values than the safety of the flight crews who have been using this area for training for over 60 years.
The Oak Harbor Chamber would like the United Stated Navy and everyone who serves and have served this country through NAS Whidbey to know that the business community stands beside you, supporting your efforts for the best possible training available.
The lawsuit that Attorney General Ferguson filed against the Navy is completely out of touch with the real issues presented by this discussion and does not represent the sentiment of a vast majority of the residents of Whidbey Island and surrounding areas.
We can’t imagine a more worthy cause than supporting the “Sound of Freedom.”
Conversely, using the office of the attorney general to promote political ambition and the objectives of a small, but very vocal special interest group is inexcusable.
• Christine Cribb is the executive director of the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce.