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Missile factory coming to Arkansas

A missile leaves an "Iron Dome" battery, Israel's short-range missile defense system, Monday. Israel shot down a drone Monday, using a Patriot missile to take out the unmanned aircraft.
Evan Vucci
A missile leaves an "Iron Dome" battery, Israel's short-range missile defense system, Monday.

A new missile factory is set for construction in southern Arkansas.

The company RTX, formerly known as Raytheon, is building the facility in Camden. The projected cost is $33 million, and should create 30 new jobs.

At a press conference Thursday, Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders said she was proud of the weapons Arkansas builds and sends worldwide.

“The only way to have a safe America, is to have a strong America,” she said. “Our enemies are on the march and they have their targets set squarely on the backs of Americans.”

The governor spoke about a trip she took to the Paris Air Show earlier this year hoping to strengthen the aviation and defense economy in Arkansas. The weapons built at the facility will be used by the U.S. and also by Israel’s “Iron Dome” defense system, which shoots missiles out of the sky.

Clint O’Neil, executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, welcomed the announcement.

“When it comes to economic development projects,” he said. “We put the ingredients in place, what it takes to be successful with real estate workforce development.”

Jeff Shockey, Leader of Global Government Relations for RTX, said the plan could save “countless” lives.

“The system unfortunately has had to prove itself almost daily over the skies of Israel,” he said.

FOIA and the media

Gov. Sanders did not answer questions Thursday regarding a lawsuit against her.

Attorney and Blogger Matt Campbell is suing the governor’s office, seeking emails sent by First Gentleman Bryan Sanders which Campbell believes should be available under the Freedom of Information Act. He also wants documents relating to the governor’s purchase of a $19,000 lectern.

When asked about this during a press conference, the governor said the media needed to make a choice to “ignore tabloid gossip.”

“While the press continues to chase down rabbit holes by people who are frankly left-wing activists,” she said. “All the business in this state under my leadership seems to be doing pretty well except for the media. So, you guys may want to look for a different business plan.”

Sanders said she is cooperating in handing over information. She also did not answer questions about a proposed amendment to enshrine the Freedom of Information Act in the state constitution

Josie Lenora is the Politics/Government Reporter for Little Rock Public Radio.