That was Leesville Mayor Robert Rose's message at an Army community-listening meeting in Leesville last week, proudly explaining how far the Army post has come over the years thanks to an overwhelming outpouring of community support and significant federal investments.
Fort Polk is truly stronger than ever before and has become invaluable to Louisiana and our country's national security.
That's the same message Fort Polk Progress delivered to the U.S. Army this week in D.C. when they made their case to keep the post intact as the Army considers whether to reduce personnel at Fort Polk.
I have been proud to stand alongside the Fort Polk community and to be its champion here in Washington. For years, I have worked to improve the post, securing $27 million in federal money for a 4,900-acre expansion and writing to the Secretary of the Army to urge approval of this land acquisition. I also worked with the local community to raise $20 million, including $18.3 million in federal funds I secured, to construct South Polk Elementary to provide quality education to the children of our military families.
The federal government has also taken notice of Fort Polk's vital and strategic importance for our country. During the last two years alone, we have invested nearly $100 million in federal funds for military construction projects at the post, including $11 million for housing improvements.
The Army should not overlook the significant investments that we have made in this post and its strategic importance for the country. While others are cutting back, Fort Polk is the only Army installation that is growing in size.
We want this brigade to stay right here, and we are going to do everything we can to keep Ft. Polk intact and to keep it growing.