CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Communities around Fort Campbell are asking residents to write or sign letters to the U.S. Army before Aug. 25 in an effort to stave off significant cuts at the sprawling Army post that straddles the Tennessee-Kentucky state line.
The Army said in July that Fort Campbell could lose half its civilian and military workforce - about 16,000 people - and take an economic hit of $863 million if maximum cuts in both budget and force size are reinstated in 2016. That’s twice the amount as originally projected.
Clarksville, Tennessee, Mayor Kim McMillan said residents can sign pre-written letters or write their own.
Pre-written letters are available at two websites: www.cityofclarksville.com and www.mcgtn.org .
“We’re trying to make it easy on the public to show their support,” McMillan said. “You can either get on the website, sign the form letter that’s there and click the ‘submit’ button and it will automatically go to all the important people in Washington, or, if you would rather print the letter off and sign it, you can bring it to the county mayor’s office or the city mayor’s office and we will collect them and send them in.”
Original letters also will be accepted.
“We urge you - we just can’t say enough how important it is to do it immediately so we can show everyone how important we know Ft. Campbell is to all of us and to our country,” McMillan said.
Christian County, Kentucky, Chamber of Commerce official Kensley Marcus said the letters are a way to tell Army officials how cuts would negatively affect the area around the post.
Marcus said the large-scale cuts could lead to 41,000 people leaving the area. Officials predict that such a drop in population would lead to a 6.8 percent drop in sales, a 7.8 percent decrease in income and a 17.6 percent dip in employment through 2020.
The chamber offers a digital letter for residents at http://christiancountychamber.com/pages/letter .
Tennessee state Rep. Joe Pitts also encouraged people to write letters in support of Fort Campbell.
“We are, in the next 14 days, in for the fight of our lives … we need to make sure we focus on Ft. Campbell,” he said last week. “The importance of Ft. Campbell to our nation’s defense, and to our communities, as well as the state of Tennessee and the Commonwealth of Kentucky cannot be overstated. We need every citizen to write a letter.”