Congresswoman Renee Ellmers: Punching Back

Photo of the Week

  This week I visited Ft. Bragg to meet with officials regarding the deactivation of the 440th Airlift Wing. This decision to deactivate is beyond disappointing — it’s irresponsible to our paratroopers, and I’m punching back. Scroll down to read more.


Weekly Update
On Monday, I visited Fort Bragg and met with military officials regarding deactivation of the 440th Airlift Wing. Included in these meetings were Chief of the Air Force Reserve, Lt. Gen. James Jackson; Commander of the 18th Airborne Corps, Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend; Commander of the 440th AW, Col. Karl Schmitkons.

I have been fighting deactivation of this airlift wing for upwards of two years now. I have serious concerns regarding the removal of the 440th from Pope Army Airfield, as it has been critical to mission training and to maintaining military readiness. Given the terrorist activity and uncertainty abroad, now is not the time to be dismantling such a unique Wing. I hope you will scroll down to see interview clips, where I talk about my meetings at Bragg and the next steps forward.

Also this week, I had an opportunity to attend a breast cancer forum in Fayetteville, where panelists discussed the need for education so we can detect and prevent breast cancer in young women. It was a wonderful panel, and I was honored to discuss my work on the PALS Act – which ensures that women ages 40 to 49 continue to have access to mammograms, despite a contradictory recommendation from a government task force.

As always, please know that my offices are here to serve you. If we can ever be of assistance, don’t hesitate to call my Asheboro, Dunn, or D.C. offices.



440th Airlift Wing in the News

Feb. 8, 2016: Ellmers said the Air Force needs to prove to Congress that it can do what it promises by showing definitive proof that it can support the majority of Army airlift requests over a 12-month span. Ellmers said she wants the inactivation delayed for at least that long, but said she would prefer a two-year hold on the decision to allow time for a new president and new defense leaders to take office. “The wisest decision we can make is to just put this on hold for two years,” she said. “We need to take a step backward.”

[On Monday] Ellmers had two meetings on Fort Bragg. In one, she met with Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, the commanding general of Fort Bragg and the 18th Airborne Corps. In the other, she met with Lt. Gen. James “JJ” Jackson, the chief of the Air Force Reserve and commander of Air Force Reserve Command, and the 440th command team, Col. Karl A. Schmitkons and Command Chief Master Sgt. Rocky V. Hart.

“This is the time to do it,” Ellmers said. “We need to come together as a community.”


Feb. 9, 2016: Ellmers spoke at Fort Bragg yesterday. She called the deactivation a mistake. “With the threats of terrorism that exist in the world today, this is a very bad decision. We’re faced with global terrorism at a level we’ve never seen before, and we simply can’t make the mistake of thinking in such a backward fashion.”


Feb. 9, 2016: On Monday, 2nd District Congresswoman Renee Ellmers came to Fort Bragg to meet with leadership and gather input on what the potential deactivation of the 440th would mean for them and their mission. Ellmers was very critical of the decision say, “It’s a huge mistake and is counterproductive to national security during a time there are still high levels of global terrorism.” She is calling for a delay rather than an immediate closure.

“I believe that we need a period of demonstration of at least 12 months where the Air Force has proved that all the jumps and training missions that take place at Fort Bragg have not been jeopardized in any way.”


Feb. 5, 2016: And Rep. Renee Ellmers, who represents the district in the U.S. House of Representatives, said, “This decision to deactivate is beyond disappointing- it’s irresponsible to our paratroopers and their readiness.”

Feb. 9, 2016: “When we have as significant a force at Ft. Bragg as we do with our paratroopers, our special forces, our global response force, we can’t let their training be jeopardized,” said Ellmers. Rep. Ellmers says she hasn’t seen enough evidence that closing the 440th would not have harmful consequences to our nation’s military readiness. “Here we are in 2016 when we know that the terrorist threats are there, they’re more pronounced than ever and it’s grown on a global front. We have to do everything we can to protect every family in the country,” said Ellmers.


Feb. 5, 2016: I spoke with Congresswoman Renee Ellmers by phone this afternoon, and she says she is taking off her gloves and continuing the fight.

Republican 2nd District Congresswoman Renee Ellmers said she will continue fighting to keep C-130s at Fort Bragg, saying she plans to meet with Fort Bragg leaders and Pentagon officials. “We have heard that they are planning busing a number of the paratroopers from Fort Bragg all the way to Charleston (S.C.) to get on aircraft there and then be flown back over Fort Bragg and dropped. Now that is absolutely ridiculous,” Ellmers said.


Feb. 5, 2016: North Carolina Rep. Renee Ellmers said she is “done playing nice.” “I am two years into fighting this proposal, and the Air Force has yet to alleviate any of my initial concerns,” Ellmers said. “In fact, the Air Force has unapologetically marched forward with this misguided proposal and shown disdain at the concerns voiced by the NC delegation and the Fayetteville community.”


Feb. 7, 2016: Ellmers, whose district includes Fort Bragg, was less restrained in her fury at Air Force leaders, whom she claimed have done everything possible to sidetrack her office on the issue. “I am the congresswoman representing Fort Bragg,” she said. “This should be information I learn firsthand.”

Ellmers said she plans to meet Monday with leaders on Fort Bragg, but pledged to make her presence known at the Pentagon as soon as she returns to Washington. “Before, we played nice,” Ellmers said. “I’m not doing that anymore.”


Feb. 9,  2016: Republican Congresswoman Renee Ellmers of the state’s Second Congressional District went to the base Monday to talk with commanders. Afterward, she said the unit is crucial, and she’ll try to delay its closure.

“For me, this is a very logical, common-sense issue,” Ellmers said, “and I see something that works and I think we need to continue with it rather than jeopardize it.”

She called for the military to delay the shutdown for up to two years of scrutiny.


Feb. 9, 2016: Ellmers to host Scott Briggaman – “I believe you do not put lives and the safety of our servicemen and women ahead of budgetary issues. I’m all about cutting spending, but we have to do what’s right.”

“This [the 440th AW] has to be a conversation that everyone in our community is having. They have to understand the importance of this issue for national defense, national security and military readiness… This is something we have to fight for, and we can’t give up.”



All pink everything! It was an honor to be invited to speak, and serve, on a panel for the Breast Cancer Education Forum in Fayetteville, NC.  I enjoyed sharing information about my work on legislation called The PALS Act & EARLY Act.  Be sure to check out The Fayetteville Observer’s report on my speech on the 21st Century Cures Act and PALS Act. 

I was so excited to see such a large turnout.  Events like this, which raise awareness, are important in the fight to beat cancer. 

It was great to speak with some of the women who attended the  Breast Cancer Educational Form in Fayetteville. I had an opportunity to hear many different women tell their stories about their fight against breast cancer.

Meet Christy and Tony Leonard from Fayetteville.  The Leonard’s are part of Debbie’s Dream Foundation: Curing Stomach Cancer.  Tony is a stomach cancer survivor that is striving to help others like himself to combat one of the most deadly and under-researched of cancers. 


In Washington This Week

    It was great to see and speak with Dr. Keen, the president of Fayetteville Technical Community College.

                             I had the opportunity to sit down with Lieutenant Colonel Greenblatt in Washington this week.  It is always a pleasure to meet with the servicemen and women serving our country.

It was great to see General Anderson back in my office this week. It’s always a pleasure to meet with him and continue our discussion about the importance of Fort Bragg and how critical this base is to military readiness.

General Anderson presented me with another challenge coin for my collection.