Jul 29 2006

Letter to the Editor

Mobile Press Register

During my recent trip to Europe with Mobile Mayor Sam Jones, Gov. Bob Riley, Baldwin County Commissioner David Ed Bishop and other officials, I saw that the vision or a new Mobile is becoming a reality.

Industry leaders from the aerospace industry knew where and what Mobile was all about: team work. During my time as a Mobile City Council member and now as a county commissioner, I have had the pleasure and honor of working together with officials like Mayor Jones, Gov. Riley and Mr. Bishop as well as my fellow commissioners to achieve a better and brighter future for Mobile and Baldwin counties.

The reception that Gov. Riley hosted in London the night before the air show was a testament to the respect he commands from the aerospace industry. Many leaders of the aerospace industry made the jaunt to Hyde Park to be with the state of Alabama.

Sens. Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions and our congressional delegation are to be commended for their continued fight for the funding for these important projects to ensure that our fighting men and women have the best possible equipment.

I am very optimistic that we will win the competition to bring the KC-30 tanker to Mobile. But even if we do not win, the partnerships we have made and the relationships we have established among Mobile and Baldwin counties, the Airport Authority, the Chamber of Commerce, Gov. Riley, EADS CASA, Raytheon, Airbus, Northrop Grumman and other industry leaders will prove fruitful for our citizens.

The production plants that the Mobile and Baldwin County delegations toured in Spain and France underscored the importance of creating a workforce development plan that ensures that when we are successful in the KC-30, Joint Cargo Aircraft and other programs, we will have prepared our students for the future by providing them the tools to further their education or to embark on a career with the tools and education they need to be successful.

The success of the Northrop Grumman KC-30 project and the Joint Cargo Aircraft project with Raytheon/EADS CASA will provide high-tech jobs that will allow both counties to improve the standard of living for all of our citizens. Mobile and Baldwin counties have never been in a better position to take advantage of the exposure from this competition.

Some people may see Mobile and Baldwin counties as competitors, but the truth is we are all stronger when we work together. It is the unique cooperation among the city, counties and state that make our area so attractive to industries looking to relocate or expand.

Our partnership to recruit the KC-30 project will mean jobs and a solid economy for both sides of the bay. This partnership may be a paradigm shift for some in the political arena who thought that success for one locale must mean defeat for another.

It is my hope that our cooperation will be an inspiration for other counties and municipalities throughout Alabama to work in a collective manner for a regional economy.

STEPHEN NODINE

Mobile County Commissioner

District 2

Mobile