There is a reason why motorists entering North Carolina are greeted with a sign that welcomes them to the “Nation’s Most Military Friendly State.” It is because we have led the way when it comes to supporting our military families and the installations they serve on.
There is no doubt that North Carolina’s military heritage runs deep. We are the proud home to some of the largest and most premiere military bases, including the Army’s Fort Bragg, the Marine Corps’ Camp LeJeune and Cherry Point, and the Air Force’s Seymour Johnson.
In addition to having the third largest military population in the entire country, the military accounts for North Carolina’s second largest economic sector, supports 578,000 jobs and contributes over $30 billion in personal income and $66 billion in gross state product. We are also home to over 670,000 veterans.
Most importantly, our partnership with the military is so strong because of the great admiration and support we have for the men and women who serve in uniform. For generations, the people of North Carolina have proudly welcomed service members and their families into our communities with open arms.
Having grown up in Mount Olive near Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, I can always remember the sound of jets flying over and the feeling of great pride it gave us for America and those who serve. Attending the air show continues to be an event we all look forward to in Eastern North Carolina
Over the past decade, the Republican-led North Carolina General Assembly has worked hard to ensure our state remains an attractive place for the military, active-duty service members, their families and our veterans.
During the 2019-2020 legislation session, we have continued to build on these efforts by advancing legislation that supports our military missions and improves the quality of life for our troops and their families.
This includes passing laws to expand in-state tuition and scholarships for veterans and their kids, making it easier for military families to find jobs, increasing funding for our state’s military programs and allowing excused absences for military children so they can spend more time with a parents before their deployment.
In the state legislature, we have striven to ensure our troops and military installations have the resources and support they need to defend our great nation.
While there is certainly more work to be done, we are proud of our military – and it is exactly why we will always work to ensure we are the “Nation’s Most Military Friendly State.”
Rep. John Bell is the North Carolina House Majority Leader. He represents House District 10, which includes Greene, Johnston and Wayne counties.