Pompeo would ax agency that could help Learjet

Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, participated in the Bombardier Learjet expansion announcement Tuesday, saying “we are thrilled that you all have made the decision that this is a place you want to continue to grow.” But U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fernandez told The Eagle editorial board that Pompeo, unlike many other Kansas elected officials, hadn’t sent a letter of support on behalf of a Learjet-related grant application to the U.S. Economic Development Administration. The Wichita Airport Authority applied for a $2 million EDA public works grant to help defray the cost of a new parking lot for Learjet’s expansion. Pompeo has offered a bill to eliminate the 45-year-old EDA, railing against it on the House floor as a “wasteful” and ineffective “giant wealth-redistribution machine” and mocking its past grants. “Much like a stimulus bill or earmarks, the EDA provides loans and grants to pet projects of the administration in power,” he said. After the Learjet announcement, his spokeswoman told the editorial board that Pompeo’s opinion of the EDA hadn’t changed.