In an ideal world, there would be no need for lobbyists in Washington. One level of government wouldn't have to pay someone to talk to another level of government. Objective decisions would be made for the right reasons.
However, to help ensure the future of Scott Air Force Base, our area has to play the high-stakes lobbying game. We can't afford to sit out because we don't like the game.
The Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois understands this and has assembled a dream team that includes former congressman Jerry Costello, dubbed the patron saint of Scott while he was in office, and retired Air Force general Donovan McNabb, a top military expert.
We support this effort, even though tax dollars as well as private dollars will be spent on it.
Some people seem to think that because of our criticism of MidAmerica Airport, we wouldn't support spending public money to help protect Scott. But there's really no comparison.
MidAmerica is a money-losing operation, while Scott is an enormous economic benefit to our area. If MidAmerica were closed, few people would miss it. But the loss of Scott would be catastrophic.
Communities around the nation already have lobbyists working to protect and secure defense spending in their areas. As our nation heads toward a third round of federal budget sequestration and the probability of another round of base closures, it's a good thing that we're getting in the game.