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Congressman Arrington, city leaders react to news the B-21 could be based at Dyess

There was big news Monday for the future of Dyess Air Force Base and the City of Abilene.

It looks like Dyess will be home to the new B-21 stealth bomber, and that could have big implications for our local economy.

It will be based at Dyess if Congress signs off on President Trump's $18 billion budget proposal.

“I've told folks to tamp down on the ticker tape parade right now until we know for certain,” said U.S. Rep. Jodey Arrington, who represents Texas’ 19th Congressional District.

We spoke with Congressman Arrington Monday afternoon by Skype right after he got off the phone with the Air Force.

“Whether it's several weeks or a few months that's to me, that's an imminent decision, and it's one that I think Abilene and Dyess are going to come out on top,” Arrington said. “I'm fully expecting that, but we're not going to take anything for granted, and that's why we continue to communicate with the leadership there at the Air Force.”

Gray Bridwell, the chairman of Abilene's Military Affairs Committee, said the announcement is great news for Dyess's future. The base is the city's biggest employer and already pumps $1.1 million into the city's economy every day.

“With the B-21, a new mission, new stealth-type mission, new construction will happen at Dyess, and it will be a great thing for Abilene,” Bridwell said.

Mayor Anthony Williams said it looks like years of hard work are finally paying off. The B-21 Raider is expected to be in service by 2025.

“Like the rest of Abilene [I’m] eagerly looking at getting more information about what that means for us, but today was good news for Abilene, Texas and good news for Dyess,” Williams said.

Arrington said Abilene's great relationship with the base is a major reason it looks like the B-21 is headed our way.

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