Newly elected 10th Congressional District Rep. Paul Broun paid a house call to Grovetown Thursday during a town hall meeting.
Broun, an Athens physician, fielded questions from constituents on topics ranging from how responsive he would be to the southern end of his district to his support of a controversial bill to re-examine base closings.
"It's my desire to make house calls to your community and to every community in this district," said Broun, adding he has spent more time in Columbia County since his election than his Oconee County home. Broun said his office will have "an open door policy" to the public, and he touted the planned Sept. 10 opening of a district office in Evans near the intersection of Washington Road and Towne Centre Drive.
On the issue of his support of the 2007 Base Realignment and Closure Cost Overrun Protection Act, Broun said Fort Gordon is in no danger of being re-examined by the BRAC Commission.
"First, let me tell you, BRAC is over," he said, adding he will oppose any re-institution of BRAC because it "cut our military way beyond the fat and into the muscle and the bone."
The bill was pushed by New Jersey lawmakers hoping to save the state's Fort Monmouth, a signal corps installation. If passed, the bill would re-examine the cost to close bases, which Broun said will cost taxpayers $8 billion more than Department of Defense estimates.
As a result of the 2004 BRAC, Broun said, Signal Corps commands at Fort Monmouth were to be moved to bases in Kentucky, Virginia and Maryland. He said the bill actually offers a slight chance to make the case that Fort Gordon could absorb those missions at a cheaper cost than keeping Fort Monmouth open or relocating the commands to other states.
"It may give us an opportunity to expand the mission of Fort Gordon, and so that's the only reason I'm supporting that," he said. "But let me assure you, Fort Gordon is not in danger and I will fight tooth and toenail to make sure it's never in danger."
The Navy Supply Corps School in Athens, which is scheduled to close in 2011 and could become a Medical College of Georgia satellite campus, will cost about $20 million more to close, he said. As written, the bill would not consider the Athens base, but Broun has said he would try to amend the bill.
Broun defeated former state Sen. Jim Whitehead, R-Evans, in a July runoff to fill the seat of the late U.S. Rep. Charlie Norwood.
After the town hall meeting, Broun toured the city's museum and finished his visit at a barbecue dinner at Canterbury Trails stables on Wrightsboro Road sponsored by the Grovetown Merchants Association.
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