To the Editor:
We are coming in the final stretch of the NBAF decision process and I wanted to share publicly my strong support for this very important project for our nation's security and the enhancement of our community's pivotal role in world class animal health research.
The NBAF placement in Manhattan and K-State represents the advancement of a well reasoned strategy by the leaders at K-State to leverage our community's and our region's strengths in the animal health industry. The placement next to state-of-the-art BRI facility offers an unprecedented concentration of fundamental animal health research and applied research to market for this region. An economic impact of this magnitude is truly a unique opportunity. It represents the right type of jobs in the right place and will strengthen K-State's place in the top tier of facilities in the world for animal health research.
Yet it is more than the tangibles of economics, job creation or the eventual product spinoffs. This is also about being part of something that represents a true commitment to our national security and the added safety of our national food supply.
I know a few people have portrayed placement of the NBAF in Manhattan as an extreme hardship to bear; the risks will somehow out weigh the benefits. I encourage everyone to research for themselves the merits and risks of such a venture in our community. If given the opportunity, you should visit the BRI facility to learn firsthand what type of safety measures are in place for such an undertaking. Talk to experts who work in the field of zoonotic pathogens and seek their understanding of this venture. I've done all of this, and I stand firm in my belief that the NBAF and Manhattan are the right fit.
I also feel it is important to consider how one could look in the eyes of any of our young soldiers on their way to Iraq or Afghanistan or their families and say that I cannot bear the small risk that NBAF would pose. These folks are making the ultimate sacrifice for our safety.
I would rather say to them that we are following our longstanding tradition of doing the right I thing for the right reasons. We support our troops, and we support those who commit their lives to critical research like that at K-State. We are more than willing as a community and as a state to contribute to a safer nation and to a safer world. This is truly that important.
3704 Everett Road
Published in the July 30, 2008 edition of The Manhattan Mercury.