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Published January 17, 2011, 06:06 PM

Hoeven, Berg Meet With City, AFB Leaders

Senator John Hoeven and Congressman Rick Berg just started their new positions, but the two are already diving into state issues. The two were in Grand Forks to talk about the Grand Forks Air Force Base Monday.

Senator John Hoeven and Rep. Rick Berg attended a flood preparations meeting in Fargo, Monday morning.

But in Grand Forks Monday afternoon, the topic was the Air Force Base.

This is the Hoeven and Berg's first time in Grand Forks since taking office.

Hoeven and Representative Rick Berg just started their new positions, but the two are already diving into state issues.

"If I were going to say what's one of the most important things in the state of North Dakota, it's the Grand Forks Air Force Base and so that's why it's exciting to be here to early in the first 2 weeks and really talk to community leaders about it," Rep. Rick Berg said.

Senator Hoeven wanted to have the meeting with the Base Realignment Impact Committee to talk about the current and future mission. Hoeven wants to know what he can do to help the base with its goals.

"We have an opportunity to build this region as the premier center for remotely-piloted aircraft. But it's going to take all of us working together to make it happen," Hoeven said.

Colonel Don Shaffer talked about the Block 40 Global Hawk mission, new projects on the base and bringing more people onto the base. It takes people from many different areas to coordinate the changes.

"The aerospace, customs and border protection, our North Dakota Air National Guard, the private sector. We have 131 jobs already in the private sector that relate to the RPA, remotely piloted aircraft," Hoeven said.

Hoeven says they are working with the FAA to get coordinating airspace to fly the aircraft in this area. The new mission will also bring new companies to Grand Forks.

"We're doing things here in new ways that just haven't been done before, so that takes a lot of help a lot of coordination and there are a lot of moving parts," Hoeven said.

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