Raleigh, N.C. — A group opposed to former U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel's nomination as defense secretary has drafted some North Carolina lawmakers to assist in the pitch for his defeat.
Shortly after the U.S. Senate began Hagel's confirmation hearing Thursday morning, Americans for a Strong Defense sent an email saying that legislators worry that having him as defense secretary would cost North Carolina jobs.
“North Carolina is the third-largest state in the nation for military personnel, and Sen. Chuck Hagel favors deep cuts to the defense budget,” Rep. David Lewis, D-Harnett, was quoted in the email. “If he gets the cuts he favors, North Carolina would lose up to 12,000 jobs. We simply cannot afford that right now.”
The email notes that Hagel favors deep cuts to defense spending, citing a 2011 interview in which he called the defense budget "bloated."
“The defense cuts Mr. Hagel favors will cost our state over $650 million in lost wages and nearly $1 billion decrease in gross state product,” Sen. Thom Goolsby, R-New Hanover, a Marine Corps veteran, states in the email.
“During a time when North Carolina is facing a 9.2 percent unemployment rate, the fifth-highest in the nation, we cannot afford a defense secretary who favors cuts that will cost North Carolinians jobs,” Sen. Ronald Rabin, R-Johnston, a retired Army colonel states in the email.