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Caucus supports base towns
ST. MARYS -- A bipartisan U.S. Senate caucus has been created to support the unique needs of defense communities across the nation.

U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., created the Senate Defense Communities Caucus to improve the relationship service members have with the communities in which they are stationed.

"Georgia is home to several military installations with active community supporters who provide the support and stability that our men and women in uniform require," Isakson said in a prepared statement. "It is critically important that we understand the issues these communities face and play an active role in empowering and supporting them."

The caucus will look at programs in military communities to determine which ones are best and ways to share information.

Retired Army Col. Barrett King, a member of the Camden Partnership in Camden County, said the caucus may learn how to build strong community relations when it looks at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay.

"I'm sure there are things they will find they can emulate," he said

King, who served 36 years in active duty and the Army Reserves, said the Navy base and Camden County have a strong relationship that both sides work continuously to improve.

The Camden Partnership includes community and business leaders who meet to discuss issues on and off base that could impact their close relationship.

The Senate caucus will determine how families and communities can better prepare for the return of service personnel from deployments or during their transitions from the military.

Base redevelopment issues, such as changes in national security, will also be studied to learn from communities that have gone through similar challenges.

* Reporter Gordon Jackson writes about Camden County and other local topics. Contact him at, on Facebook or at 464-7655.

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