The jobs story in the United States hasn’t been very positive lately, especially in Arizona.
But Wednesday that changed pretty dramatically in the West Valley, as the announcement was made by the Department of Defense that, after years of deliberation, Luke Air Force Base was selected as the official training center for the new F-35 fighter jets.
The base regularly generates around $2 billion in economic impact for Arizona, but in addition to that, community leaders are projecting 1,000 jobs and $17 million in tax revenue. Yes, Glendale needed good news coming from somewhere after all that city’s fiscal labor pains of late, but this shot in the arm of the 71-year-old base is adrenaline for the whole Valley, and the whole state.
Luke has long been economically important, even reflecting on its part of the growth explosion here, as returning military came back to the sunshine to make Arizona a permanent home.
U.S. and foreign pilots will be trained on both the F-35s and the F-16s, as all of us have yet another reason to salute one of our best neighbors: Luke Air Force Base.
I’m Pat McMahon.