Wash. delegation to Boeing: We’re there for you

Washington’s congressional delegation sent the Boeing Co. a love letter Tuesday telling the company that they’ve worked hard to help the aerospace giant, will continue to do so and want the 777X built in this state.

All 12 members of the delegation signed the letter, which was addressed to Boeing CEO Jim Mcnerney Jr. in Chicago and the head of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Ray Conner.

Washington’s senators and representatives have long advocated for Boeing, but that didn’t stop the company from moving its headquarters to Chicago in 2001.

Since then, Boeing leaders have continued to say the company isn’t wedded to Washington, and they are willing to move elsewhere, as they did when they put a second 787 assembly line in South Carolina.

Still, in the past 12 years, Boeing has expanded its presence in Washington. Most 787 work, including final assembly, is in Everett. The 737MAX will be built in Renton. And work on the KC-46A aerial-refueling tanker, which is based on the 767, is under way in Everett.

Several delegation members were particularly involved in helping Boeing land the tanker contract with the U.S. Air Force.

The letter states, “As our delegation’s support illustrates, support for aerospace manufacturing in Washington is not just statewide, it is miles wide and miles deep. Aerospace manufacturing creates jobs in every corner of the state.”

In an appeal to Boeing’s what-have-you-done-for-me-lately mentality, the delegation members say they are working on:

  • Reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank.
  • Investing in technical education in grade schools and higher education programs to train the next generation of Washington aerospace workers.
  • Completing work to modernize the national air traffic system.
  • Working to streamline Federal Aviation Administration certification for manufacturing.
  • Locating an unmanned aircraft test facility in Washington.
  • Reforming the Harbor Maintenance Tax so transporting parts is efficient and affordable.
  • And meeting federal responsibilities to invest in roads, bridges, highways and runways to make business more accessible.

Here is the full text:


December 10, 2013

Jim McNerney, Jr.

Chairman, President and CEO

The Boeing Company

100 North Riverside

Chicago, Illinois 60606

Ray Conner

President and CEO

Boeing Commercial Airplanes

100 North Riverside

Chicago, Illinois 60606

Dear Mr. McNerney and Mr. Conner:

As The Boeing Company considers where to base production of the 777X, we want you to know that our delegation supports state and local leaders who are working to keep and bring production to Washington state.

Washington is the aerospace capital of the world, and our delegation is committed to ensuring that the aerospace industry can continue to grow in Washington state. For the last century, Boeing and Washington state have been true partners. Thanks to this successful partnership, the women and men at Boeing and its suppliers in Washington state make the best airplanes in the world.

While we recognize that the Boeing Company faces an increasingly competitive environment and must undertake a thorough process to determine where to place production, we are confident that a full analysis of options will show that Washington state stands apart from the competition.

Regarding aerospace, no state’s federal delegation can compare to our enthusiasm and commitment. The Washington delegation voted unanimously to extend authority for the Export-Import Bank. We fought hard to make the KC-46A refueling tanker a reality. We are focused on opening new markets through trade, on investing in our skilled workforce, on building and maintaining a strong transportation infrastructure, and on prioritizing defense dollars on American products. We are the aerospace industry’s strongest allies and loudest advocates in Congress.

That is why we have been focused on promoting policies that serve the aerospace industry and its workers. Our delegation leads when it matters most. We:

  • Led the fight to land the Air Force’s KC-46A Refueling Tanker contract for Boeing;
  • Led the successful 2012 reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank;
  • Voted unanimously for the Korea and Panama trade agreements;
  • Helped secure the creation of a national Center of Excellence for jet biofuel research in Washington state; and
  • Landed a $20 million federal workforce training grant to train more than 2,600 workers in advanced manufacturing/composites, electronics/avionics, aircraft assembly and aircraft maintenance.

We are tackling the major policy challenges facing the aerospace industry in the decades to come. We are focused on:

  • Reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank;
  • Investing in STEM education and higher education programs to educate the next generation of Washington aerospace workers;
  • Completing the Next Generation Air Transportation System;
  • Moving FAA’s certification reforms forward to ensure timely manufacturing to market;
  • Locating an Unmanned Aircraft Systems test facility in Washington state;
  • Reforming the Harbor Maintenance Tax so transporting parts is efficient and affordable; and
  • Meeting federal responsibilities to invest in roads, bridges, highways, and runways to make business more accessible.

Our state’s history of aviation excellence, our experienced workforce, our delegation’s track record of supporting the aerospace industry in the state, and our leaders’ unwavering commitment to supporting growth in aviation make Washington the right place to bring the production of the 777X and its composite wing.

We are committed to continue investing in the foundation of long-term economic growth that creates jobs and opportunity in the Pacific Northwest.

We accomplish this by supporting local initiatives with particular emphasis on innovation, transportation, trade, exports and manufacturing. We will continue to look for ways to expand higher education, job skills and training opportunities. Working in concert with local governments and regional economic development organizations, we identify long-range growth opportunities and provide support where appropriate.

As our delegation’s support illustrates, support for aerospace manufacturing in Washington is not just statewide, it is miles wide and miles deep. Aerospace manufacturing creates jobs in every corner of the state.

With senior positions on key Congressional committees, including Transportation and Infrastructure, Armed Services, Financial Services, Appropriations, Budget, Ways and Means, Veteran’s Affairs, Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), Finance, Energy and Natural Resources, Commerce and Science, Space and Technology, we are uniquely positioned to work with key stakeholders to further the aerospace industry in Washington state.

We look forward to working with you and our state’s leaders to bring the 777X to Washington.

Sincerely,

Patty Murray, U.S. Senator

Maria Cantwell, U.S. Senator

Rick Larsen, Member of Congress

Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Member of Congress

Suzan DelBene, Member of Congress

Jaime Herrera Beutler, Member of Congress

Doc Hastings, Member of Congress

Derek Kilmer, Member of Congress

Jim McDermott, Member of Congress

Dave Reichert, Member of Congress

Adam Smith, Member of Congress

Denny Heck, Member of Congress

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