Lockheed exec makes bid for House seat

New Jersey candidate for Congress Chris Myers is touting his credentials as a senior executive with major government contractor Lockheed Martin Corp., but he also is being criticized for his association with the defense contractor.

Myers is township councilman and former mayor of Medford in Burlington County, N.J., an area that includes suburbs to Philadelphia. He is campaigning for a seat left open by the retirement of Rep. James Saxton (R-N.J.)

Myers, who has been endorsed by Saxton, is facing off against Jack Kelly of Ocean County, N.J., among other candidates, in a Republican state primary June 3.

On his Web site, Myers describes his post as vice president of Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems and Sensors Business Development in positive terms.

"In his capacity at Lockheed Martin, Chris created thousands of new, high-tech jobs and initiated solar power research and development projects that he continues to lead today," states Myers' Web site.

At the same time, Myers' Lockheed experience and connections are drawing criticism.

For example, in a May 16 press release, Kelly accuses Myers of a possible conflict of interest related to technologies, such as border fencing and virtual fence technologies, because of Lockheed's development in those areas.

"If Chris Myers is in Congress and Lockheed Martin is bidding for any contract ? in this case, one to use technology to secure the border ? how could Chris take part in this process in any way, shape or form?" Kelly asked in the release. "How do we know if Chris Myers would stand with the taxpayers or his corporate buddies who have gotten rich by corrupting the system in Washington, D.C.?" Kelly asked.

A spokesman for Lockheed Martin said Myers has agreed to resign his position at the company if he is elected to Congress.

"It is Lockheed Martin's policy to encourage employees to get involved in civic affairs and to participate in the political process," said Jeff Adams, a company spokesman. "Consistent with that, Mr. Myers has assured us he will not use any company property, or services, or any items of value, including working hours, in connection with his campaign, and he has signed an agreement to that effect. Should he be elected to office he will resign his position to avoid any conflict of interest."

About 5,200 Lockheed Martin employees live in New Jersey's third congressional district, in which Myers is running for office, Adams said. The company is not soliciting any contributions or employee involvement on Myers' behalf, he added.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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