Public Radio from UA Little Rock
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Arkansas governor rallies defense industry employees for providing equipment to Ukraine

Governor's Office
Arkansas Commerce Secretary Mike Preston (left) and Gov. Asa Hutchinson speak to more than 150 employees of aerospace and defense companies in Camden, thanking them for their part in manufacturing critical components for weapon systems.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson led a rally in Camden, Ark., on Monday in support of the aerospace defense industry that produces weapons being used to defend the country of Ukraine.

Hutchinson was joined by Ukrainian native Professor Kateryna Pitchford, who is an assistant professor at Central Baptist College in Conway, and Arkansas Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston.

Military exports are Arkansas’ No. 1 export product. There are more than 2,700 workers in the Highland Industrial Park, where explosive munitions are produced. Some of the weapons include tank killers, anti-air defenses, and other missiles.

“Your daily commitment to producing state-of-the-art and highly technical components and propulsion systems has made the difference for Ukraine,” Hutchinson said. “Because of your work, Ukraine has surprised its invaders by a strong defense against the onslaught of a cruel invasion. Camden is in a critical front-line position to support the Ukrainians who are stopping the Russian army from overrunning their nation.”

Pitchford said, “No one expected this barbaric invasion in the 21st century in my home country of Ukraine. While Putin’s war is killing children and women, and destroying the peaceful way of life, your work here empowers the Ukrainian army by supplying defense weapons. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for all you do to save Ukrainian lives. The Ukrainian army and the people will win this war. Glory to Ukraine!”

Pitchford was born in Dnipro, Ukraine and still has many relatives and friends in the country.

The Camden area workforce has been producing weapons since 1944, Preston said.

“Over the decades, Camden-area workers and their companies have supported the front lines wherein the defense of freedom, first in Europe and the Pacific, and now in Ukraine and NATO countries,” Preston said.

This story comes from the staff of Talk Business & Politics, a content partner with KUAR News. You can hear the weekly program on Mondays at 6:06 p.m.