As many of us know, government support and investment has the potential to both create new jobs and protect existing ones here in Michigan. We also know that finding bipartisan common ground between leaders, both in Lansing and in Washington, D.C., can be a challenge.

Serving as a Marine, I saw firsthand how national security policies shape and promote the future of our nation. Now, as a state representative, I understand the critical importance of how our missions can impact our local and state economies.

A significant contributor to Michigan’s economy is our support of America’s defense industry. The F-35 jet program alone provides good paying jobs to more than 5,500 hard-working Michiganders and contributes more than $500 million annually in economic impact in our great state.

Continued support for vital national defense programs from leaders in Congress can help keep our economy strong. Data from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation shows that national security suppliers in our state contribute roughly $24 billion to our economy and provide 155,000 defense-related jobs.

A natural next step for our leaders in Washington would be to look seriously at stationing the F-35 right here in southeast Michigan at the Selfridge Air National Guard Base. These 5th generation aircrafts would provide a further boost to our economy, and Selfridge provides the perfect location for these jets and can help secure the future of the base for generations to come.

I am grateful for the members of the Michigan congressional delegation’s pursuit to ensure this vital sector of our economy is not only supported but continues to grow. The F-35 jet program and other national defense programs are critical to Michigan’s economy. The United States will always need the best military equipment to keep us safe and protect those who serve, and we should continue building that equipment right here in Michigan.