Our communities have had an unprecedented amount of uncertainty over the past year. With the continuing health concerns over COVID-19 and the economic challenges that have followed, many of us crave stability and security for our communities, the state, and the nation.

One way to achieve this is by investing in proven, mission-ready military aircraft like the F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet. It’s increasing security for our nation in several ways.

First, defense programs often seem far removed from our daily lives, but they impact us in many ways. You may be surprised to know that 11 companies right here in Minnesota contribute to the production of the Super Hornet, including mine, TSI Plastics in Blaine. We are a leading manufacturer of precision molded and machined plastic parts for aerospace, the military, computers, electronics, medical food service, and construction industries. We supply 540 part numbers for the Super Hornet.

In addition, the Block III Super Hornet is ready to deploy today. It’s designed as both a fighter and attack aircraft, giving warfighters flexibility to carry out both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. The Super Hornet has also been upgraded with a computer system that not only is easier for pilots to use but can be updated as needed. This makes it essential going into the next generation of warfare, especially against adversarial nations aggressively pursuing weapons and strategies to gain the upper hand on the United States.

TSI Plastics has been making parts for this program since 1990. We are a leader in making non-metallic precision parts and assemblies for Boeing Defense Systems. There are 800 F/A-18 supplier companies like mine that support roughly 60,000 jobs across the country. Additionally, the F/A-18 program has an estimated $3 billion annual economic impact, of which, 70 cents of each dollar that goes to the program flows to suppliers. My company is proud to contribute to the F/A-18 program because of its importance to national security and jobs in the region.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

Programs like the Super Hornet benefit Minnesota in the short and long term. It’s important that our elected leaders — including U.S. Reps. Betty McCollum, Pete Stauber, and Tom Emmer — voice their support for the F/A-18 Super Hornet in the halls of Congress.

For years, regional representatives like McCollum, Stauber, and Emmer have been champions of fiscal responsibility and a strong national defense. They have made clear the women and men of the Armed Forces need to be the best equipped fighting force in the world.

Congresswoman McCollum serves on the powerful House Appropriations Committee and as chair of the Defense Subcommittee. Congressman Emmer serves on the House Financial Services Committee and on the Republican Deputy Whip Team. These positions enable our leaders to make a stronger, better-equipped military a reality. The Super Hornet meets and exceeds the criteria for an effective, cost-effective program that serves our communities and our military.

As we fight every day to achieve a healthy, safe, and stable community, it’s important that we have representatives who look out for our best interest. By supporting programs with multifaceted positive impacts for communities like ours, elected officials can help promote positive change and reassurance during times of crises and uncertainty.

Pat McCready started in sales at TSI Plastics in Blaine, Minnesota, in 1986. He purchased the company in 2001.