Congressman and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy paid a visit here Sept. 4.
McCarthy began the day with an AFTC mission brief given by Brig. Gen. Arnold W. Bunch Jr., AFTC commander. Bunch described Air Force Materiel Command’s 5-Center realignment and the increased importance of Edwards AFB’s role as AFTC Headquarters.
“General Bunch gave me an insightful briefing on the new 5-Center construct that Air Force Material Command has implemented as he and his team continue to strive to find necessary efficiencies that need to be achieved. As they look for every possible way to find savings during these difficult fiscal times, our top priority will always be the mission and the men and women who carry it out,” said McCarthy.
The congressman then visited with Brig. Gen. Michael T. Brewer who gave him an overview of the hundreds of test programs overseen by the 412th Test Wing.
Two of the biggest test programs here at Edwards were the congressman’s next visits. He received briefings at both the F-22 Combined Test Force and the Joint Strike Fighter Integrated Test Force.
“It’s really inspiring to see the rich history here at Edwards and the progress of the current programs like the F-22 and JSF that will continue our military superiority into the future.”
Following a visit to Hangar 1600 to see how the aircraft maintenance process works to keep planes flying, he departed for a visit to NASA Dryden Flight Research Center.
“The primary role of government is to defend our freedoms from those that wish us harm. Sept. 11 demonstrated that we can no longer stand idle while a sophisticated group of terrorist enemies attempt to attack our friends and families. In this uncertain time where our nation remains on a war footing and is threatened by new hostile enemies, we must be prepared to protect our freedom. First and foremost, we must provide our brave men and women in uniform with the resources they need.”
First elected in 2006, McCarthy is a native of Bakersfield and a fourth-generation Kern County resident. After the 2010 midterm elections, McCarthy was elected by his colleagues to serve as Majority Whip of the United States House of Representatives.
More than 600,000 people reside in California’s 22nd Congressional District, which covers most of Kern and San Luis Obispo Counties, and northeastern Los Angeles County. The district includes the cities of Arroyo Grande, Atascadero, Bakersfield, California City, Frazier Park, Kernville, Lake Isabella, Lancaster, Mojave, Paso Robles, Ridgecrest, Taft, Tehachapi and Templeton. The 22nd District also encompasses the Sequoia and Los Padres National Forests.
The three largest industries in the 22nd District are agriculture, energy, and defense. The 22nd District is one of America’s top agriculture districts, producing over $3 billion in crops such as cotton, citrus, grapes, stone fruits, pistachios, wine grapes, almonds, olives, tomatoes, onions, garlic, carrots, alfalfa, cattle and sheep. In addition, Kern County annually produces more oil than the state of Oklahoma. Kern County is also a leader in wind, solar, and geothermal technologies.
Northeastern Los Angeles County and eastern Kern County are the sites of Edwards Air Force Base and the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division at China Lake, respectively.