Thomson VIllage President Jerry "Duke" Hebeler said at a press conference Monday that bringing Guantanamo Bay detainees to Thomson, Illinois, could be a boon to the local economy.
"We certainly like whatever we've heard so far," Hebeler said, noting the potential for new jobs to the region and the possibility to cut unemployment in half.
He downplayed the idea of security concerns.
"I would never chase jobs if I thought it would jeopardize the safety and security of my friends and neighbors," he said. "Bottom line is I want to make sure the bad guys are off the street. This is what maximum security prison is all about. From what I've heard so far, Thomson would be even more secure [than other places], and that's what would make me sleep better."
As for the political implications, Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) addressed the point head on by saying: "I would caution everybody who is looking at what's happening here to listen and learn and study for themselves what's really at stake here, rather than rush to judgment for some political purpose."
WATCH THE FULL PRESS CONFERENCE BY LOCAL OFFICIALS ADDRESSING THE IDEA OF MOVING GUANTANAMO BAY DETAINEES TO THOMSON, ILLINOIS: