Governor Kelly Urges Congress to Support Kansas Aviation and F-35 Fighter Jet Production

TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly sent letters to members of the U.S. House and Senate Armed Services Committees and Defense Appropriations Subcommittees urging them to support the aviation industry, create jobs, and encourage economic development in Kansas by supporting the F-35 Lightning II program. She requested the chairmen and ranking members support the president’s Fiscal Year 2024 Budget Request for 83 F-35 fighter jets and at least six additional aircraft.

“Enhancing F-35 production is important to Kansas’ future as it generates economic opportunities for our residents and supports American national security,” Governor Laura Kelly wrote. “The combined benefits of job creation, defense modernization, and our state’s aviation expertise make the F-35 program valuable for Kansas and the United States.”

The F-35 offers advanced capabilities that strengthen the United States’ global alliances, deter adversaries, and create high-quality manufacturing and engineering jobs. With 37 F-35 supplier locations in Kansas, the program supports nearly 5,000 direct and indirect jobs in Kansas and has an annual economic impact of more than $541 million.

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Read Governor Kelly’s letter here.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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