Gov. George Deukmejian toured production facilities for the space shuttle, the B-1 bomber and the MX missile Thursday in hopes of "drawing attention" to California's aerospace and defense industry at a time when President Reagan's defense spending proposals are under heavy attack.
Trailed by dozens of reporters and television cameras, the governor shook hands with aerospace workers, posed for pictures and inspected work at half a dozen plants. Later, he addressed industry leaders at a private luncheon in Los Angeles.
Deukmejian, who does not face reelection until next year, told reporters that the purpose of his visit was to focus attention on California's aerospace and defense industries. He also took the opportunity to criticize members of Congress who want to cut Reagan's plans to increase spending on defense programs.
"They shouldn't be complaining as much as they should be cooperating with the President," he said. "The people basically decided this issue last year (in the presidential election)."
The President's congressional critics, Deukmejian said, "did not go before the entire electorate."
"They come from individual districts," he said.
Reagan's proposed defense buildup could mean $5 billion annually for California, he said.
Deukmejian, who earlier had proclaimed Thursday as Aerospace Day, spent the day touring defense and aerospace plants in Palmdale, El Segundo and Long Beach. He was invited by the California Aerospace Alliance, a group of 13 Southern California manufacturers.
Beginning in Palmdale, the governor inspected the assembly of anti-submarine aircraft and transport planes at a Lockheed Corp. plant. He was briefed at the Northrop Corp. on the MX missile and watched a flight demonstration of the F-20 Tigershark fighter. Touring several Rockwell International plants, he viewed construction of the Atlantis space shuttle and the B-1 bomber.
Flying to Los Angeles for the luncheon speech, Deukmejian told industry leaders, "I am personally very proud of the pivotal role our state plays in defending freedom and protecting America and her allies," according to a text released by the governor's office.
Then the governor finished his trip with an inspection of satellites at Hughes Aircraft in El Segundo and a look at an airplane production line at the McDonnell Douglas plant in Long Beach.
Since January, the governor has been traveling around the state visiting various public and private enterprises and meeting with local interest groups.
On Wednesday night, he addressed a Chinese Chamber of Commerce dinner in Los Angeles and praised the Chinese community's contributions to California.
"Obviously, we do want to see more of the programs firsthand," he said."