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from The Arizona Republic (opinions)

State and county leaders put their competing interests aside and agreed on a pact that protects Luke Air Force Base from encroachment and improves the chances of landing the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The agreement signed last week by Gov. Jan Brewer and Attorney General Terry Goddard and adopted unanimously by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors largely prohibits new single-family development around the base, its auxiliary fields and other military installations. It ends years of legal wrangling by the state and county.

The deal strikes a balance between property rights and protecting the $2.1 billion economic engine that is Luke. It indemnifies the county against potential lawsuits from property owners. The state will fight the county’s legal battles.

“This is true consensus,” Goddard told an audience of Valley leaders on Thursday. “Let me repeat that because true consensus is hard to come by. This is true consensus.”

The agreement ensures Luke remains competitive as Air Force officials weigh where to land the F-35. Later this month, the Air Force will conduct a series of public-scoping meetings in the West Valley regarding the F-35 at Luke.

Brewer, Goddard and county supervisors sent a clear and well-timed message to Washington, D.C.

We stand ready for the F-35.

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