As President-elect Donald Trump takes aim at defense giant’s F-35 stealth fighter program, Georgia lawmakers are rallying around the project as a crucial cog in Cobb County’s economy.
State Rep. Stacey Evans, a Smyrna Democrat, wrote Trump an open letter on Thursday urging him to think twice about scrapping the sophisticated fighter jet – and the thousands of employees who build their center wing assemblies at Lockheed’s sprawling plant.
“‘Never forget who we’re working for,’ is scrawled on the wall of the Lockheed plant in Marietta, Georgia. We should not send our military men and women off to protect our nation in an inferior aircraft if we can afford it,” Evans wrote Trump. “Money is important, but it is not the only important thing. The lives of our military men and women and the effectiveness of our military missions must factor into the equations as well.”
In tweets last week, Trump said he was frustrated over “tremendous cost and cost overruns” for the jet and that he asked Boeing to price-out the F-18 Super Hornet. It was the latest example of Trump lashing out over defense contracts; he also criticized the potential high cost of the next Air Force One.
“It’s a dance,” he said last week of the negotiations. “It’s a little bit of a dance, but we’re gonna get the cost down, and we’re gonna get it down beautifully. I think we’re looking to cut a tremendous amount of money.”
Evans joins a chorus of lawmakers from both parties urging Trump not to scrap the F-35 program, which is spread out among Lockheed plants and subcontractors in 45 states.