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State Sen. Pat Vance made it clear Thursday she was not elected by her constituents to worry about upsetting some Army general.

“I do not subscribe to the thinking that speaking out would offend a general,” she said. “I am here to protect and represent our own area.”

The state Senate on Thursday passed a resolution sponsored by Vance backing the continued operation of the Army Heritage and Education Center in Middlesex Township.

News broke in early April of a recommendation under review at the Pentagon as part of the Fiscal Year 2013 budget review to close the Middlesex Township facility and transfer its mission to the Army Center for Military History at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C.

Polish the jewel

Senate Resolution 151, which is co-sponsored by 17 of Vance’s colleagues, calls AHEC “an invaluable resource” for the U.S. Army and supports its strategic communications outreach based on its location, collection and physical plant.

The resolution notes about $57.8 million in private donations have been raised so far for the national museum.

It also urges the U.S. Congress to reconsider the June 17 decision by Secretary of the Army John McHugh to name Fort Belvoir, Va., the official site of a national Army museum.

For Vance, it makes no sense to build a brand-new $155 million museum in Virginia when its mission could be easily integrated into AHEC, which has already received about $48 million in federal, state and local support.

“There has been too much money and time invested into AHEC to dismantle it,” Vance said. “I’m hopeful Congress will help the Army see the wisdom of the continued operation and growth of this area jewel.”

AHEC’s location convenient to multiple highways and its proximity to Gettysburg and Hershey will help draw visitors to central Pennsylvania, she added. Her district includes all of Cumberland County along with Carroll, Fairview, Franklin, Monaghan, Warrington and Washington townships and Dillsburg, Franklintown and Wellsville boroughs in York County.

The resolution notes that federal taxpayer dollars will be necessary to cover part of the construction costs involved with the $155 million museum. It calls this “an unnecessary expenditure” when AHEC already has space available to house a museum and a premier location to receive visitors.

The resolution will now be sent to the U.S. Congress.


Posted at 3:10 p.m. Thursday on Cumberlink:

The Pennsylvania State Senate unanimously passed a resolution this afternoon in support of the continued development of the Army Heritage and Education Center in Middlesex Township.

State Sen. Pat Vance was among those who introduced the resolution which calls on the U.S. Congress to reconsider the establishment of the National Museum of the U.S. Army at Fort Belvoir, VA.

The resolution noted how federal taxpayer dollars will be necessary to cover part of the construction costs involved with the $155 million national museum.

The resolution called this "an unnecessary expenditure" when AHEC already has space available to house a museum and is a premier location to receive visitors, the resolution reads.

It also stated that AHEC is "an invaluable resource" for the U.S. Army and supports its strategic communications outreach based on its location, collection and physical plant.

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