The impending retirement of Oklahoma's Sen. Don Nickles is by no means good news for the state's clout in Washington, but it isn't necessarily bad news for Altus facing the upcoming round of base closures by the Base Realignment and Closure commission (BRAC) according to state Rep. David Braddock (D-Altus).
"It's tough when you lose someone with his with his seniority," Braddock said at Thursday's meeting of the Altus Lions Club. "But (Nickles) handed most BRAC issues off to (Sen. Jim) Inhofe."
Braddock is the chairman of the Oklahoma Strategic Military Planning Commission which is charged by Gov. Brad Henry with the job of preparing the state's five bases to survive the round of cuts.
Braddock said that in any case, Nickles will still be in office during most of the BRAC process.
"The good news is he'll still be in there for 15 more months, and indications are it will be over by November, 2004."
Braddock said that though the list of bases to be closed will come out in May, 2005, it is widely thought decisions will be made before then and that there will be no changes after the list is released.
Braddock said the results of an independent study making recommendations to local governments, including Altus, for improvements to prepare for BRAC, should be released later this year.