On May 29, the Tucson Police Officers Association announced the recall of their endorsement of Kozachik. Now, citing a lack of support for the long-term future of the 162nd Fighter Wing and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, the Tucson Association of REALTORS® has withdrawn its endorsement of Steve Kozachik for Tucson City Council.
The Tucson Police Officers Association said while they had “developed a positive relationship with Council Member Kozachik. We hoped for that to continue, but recent statements indicate that he fundamentally does not understand the needs of Tucson Police Officers.”
Although Kozachik is unopposed in Ward 6 in the November 5 election, the Tucson Association of REALTORS® felt his recent statement that questions the feasibility of the military’s new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet has jeopardized the region’s economy.
The realtors released a statement on Monday saying that although they had endorsed Kozachik on June 12, Kozachik made his “current mission only statement” on June 25, in his guest editorial in the Arizona Daily Star.
“The F-35 appears to be the long-term future of the Air Force, our national defense strategy and our community’s economic vitality. What’s troubling is Mr. Kozachik’s position that he only supports the current mission of base. His failure to endorse expanding the mission at DM and the 162nd Fighter Wing is a dangerous gamble for our community and has caused us to reconsider and withdraw our endorsement,” said TAR CEO Philip Tedesco, RCE, CAE.
“His carefully chosen words hide his real message to the federal government and the Pentagon that he doesn’t support locating an F-35 fleet here anytime in the future,” Tedesco added.
With talks expected as early as 2015 on additional Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), Kozachik’s comments “are a grave concern,” said Tedesco. “The bottom line is that he has harmed one of the core economic pillars of our community and his words will be used in Washington and across the nation to demonstrate Tucson’s lack of support for expanded military operations in our community.”
Those concerns are based on the fact that the 162nd Fighter Wing and Davis-Monthan AFB already has been passed over twice by the Air Force as a training site for the F-35. Plus, DM’s primary mission is the A-10 and it is under consideration for de-commissioning.
In Fiscal Year 2012, DM employed about 3,300 civilians and created some 4,700 total jobs in the community. Its local economic impact was $1.1 billion, according to the base’s annual Economic Impact Analysis.
“As a business-oriented organization, the long-term vitality of our local economy is a top priority of our 4,700 members. Economic growth is important, it provides a foundation for a higher standard of living,” Tedesco said. “We cannot endorse any candidate that would place our community and our economy in such jeopardy,” said Tedesco.