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link Lillian Bowe: Staff photo

U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, talks about the importance of supporting Cannon Air Force Base on Thursday at the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce luncheon. Thornberry was invited by U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce to speak at the luncheon and is also visiting New Mexico military bases.

Staff writer

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U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry advised community members and leaders at Thursday’s chamber luncheon to support Cannon Air Force Base or there could be a risk of losing it.

The Texas Republican said a tour of Cannon before the Roosevelt County Chamber’s quarterly event reminded him how important it is to the area and to the U.S. Air Force.

“You can look and see the missions where people from Cannon are in the center of important missions,” said Thornberry, but cautioned, “no base should relax.”

Thornberry was invited by U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce to tour New Mexico’s Military Installations and to speak at the luncheon.

Thornberry is the vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and leads the Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities.

Before Thornberry started his talk, Pearce went around the room and asked what issues were the most important. Many said healthcare, water and education, but most said national security.

Thornberry discussed the threats that the nation is facing, including ISIS, China, Russia, North Korea and even the Ebola outbreak. Thornberry said the U.S. has sent troops to help with the outbreak.

“We have huge range for our military. We ask them to fight against disease and deal with big nuclear powers,” Thornberry said.

With the military slowly shrinking in size, Thornberry said that the community should continue to support the air force base to convey to the government how important it is economically to the area.

“Our military is on the way to becoming the smallest since after World War II,” Thornberry said. “We can’t allow this to happen with all the national security threats we are facing.”

The luncheon then went into a Q&A session.

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