The McAlester Community Actively Supports the Defense Industry by Advocating in Washington D.C.
‘Open for Business’ is a popular slogan but McAlester, Oklahoma is taking business support to a whole new level. Here, community leaders are actively supporting the local defense industry by advocating on their behalf in Washington D.C. Since 2012, the community has self-funded trips to Washington to garner support for the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant (MCAAP) and the defense industry in general. The annual McAlester Stampede took place in Washington this November, with representatives from the McAlester Defense Support Association, made up of officials from the City of McAlester, Chamber of Commerce, local defense contractors, and others from the business community.
“We’re an action-oriented community who demonstrates our support for local business by being their biggest champion and working to find solutions to challenges they may face. The McAlester Defense Support Association was formed with that mindset and the Stampede is their flagship event,” said Kirk Ridenour, Economic Development Director for the City of McAlester.
During the Stampede, Senator James M. Inhofe spoke with leaders from McAlester during their recent trip. “It is always a pleasure to visit with the McAlester community in Washington. We had a very productive conversation about strengthening our national defense by providing continued support for the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant,” he said. “The McAlester Defense Support Association works incredibly hard to support the McAlester community and ensure military readiness for one of Oklahoma’s most important military installations.”
The annual McAlester Stampede is designed to facilitate conversations with elected officials, like Senator Inhofe, and to remind them of the important role the defense industry plays in McAlester. While in Washington, the group also meets with Pentagon officials to discuss needs and how McAlester can support additional missions. “Our goal is to demonstrate that, as a community, McAlester is committed to doing our part to promote national security, and that we are invested in the success of our defense industry. These meetings open the doors to conversations about how MCAAP and McAlester can continue to meet the needs of the nation,” said Jessica Gregg, the Executive Director of the McAlester Defense Support Association.
Defense Companies Can Build Quickly in McAlester’s Industrial Park
Looking forward, McAlester is ready to grow its defense industry. “We have the skilled talent to produce highly complex equipment and parts for the defense industry. So, in addition to supporting the growth of MCAAP, our community could easily support additional defense manufacturing,” Ridenour says.
In addition to skilled workers, McAlester is site ready. The Steven W Taylor Industrial Park offers access to Interstate 35, 40, and 44, direct rail connections to the Union Pacific and Kansas City Southern mainlines, excess utility capacity, proximity to the inland Port of Muskogee, and an expedited permitting process, to reduce risk and make it possible for companies to get operational in a timely fashion.
Defense companies looking for a new location that can be operational quickly are invited to contact Kirk Ridenour, Economic Development Director for the City of McAlester, by emailing email@example.com.