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ROCKAWAY TOWNSHIP – Comparisons between public officials are unavoidable, and so it was Thursday when Mikie Sherrill stood outside the visitors’ center at Picatinny Arsenal and talked about the tour she just took with James M. Richardson, the Deputy Commanding General, Army Futures Command.
“They are doing exactly what they should be doing,” the congresswoman said after the tour. This wasn’t her first trip to the sprawling base in Morris County, but as she nears her 100th day as a congresswoman, Sherrill said she thought it appropriate to visit the base with Richardson.
Quite candidly, this is not something Rodney Frelinghuysn would have done. To be sure, he would have visited the base, but he never would have invited reporters to talk about it. That just wasn’t his style. As we are seeing with Sherrill, a new congressional representative is as much about a different style as it is a different political philosophy.
The significance of Picatinny, of course, goes far beyond a two-hour or so visit. Given the fact military bases are inevitably threatened with closure, Sherrill sees her mission to convince fellow members of the House Armed Services Committee that Picatinny’s work is extremely valuable to the nation’s defense.
Asked about any threat to Picatinny’s future, Sherrill said, “I don’t think anyone has a timetable:” regarding the next round of base closures. “But it’s always something you are very aware of.”
She described the work at Picatinny as “central. It’s simply central” to the U.S. military.
A Navy veteran, Sherrill referred to an old saying about never wanting soldiers to face a fair fight. Then, she put a new twist on that, saying, “I want our soldiers to be so well trained and well equipped that people don’t pick a fight with them.”
During her time on the base, Sherrill said she toured innovation centers that focused on long range artillery in addition to ways to combat active shooters in the workplace.
She said Picatinny’s value is that it’s working to protect not only the war-fighter, but the community as well.