Washington – Rep. Rosa DeLauro, a Democrat who represents a congressional district that is home to Sikorsky Aircraft, criticized United Technology Corp. CEO Greg Hayes on Thursday, saying she expected him to honor previous assurances to keep the company in Stratford.

UTC said this week that it is conducting a review of whether it should sell or spin off Sikorsky, a company UTC has owned for more than 80 years.

“I understand that UTC is exploring options and no decisions have been made,” DeLauro said in a statement. “But UTC CEO Greg Hayes has previously assured members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation that he is committed to keeping Sikorsky in Stratford. I expect him to honor that and will be communicating that directly to him.”

DeLauro also said she plans to ask Hayes and Sikorsky President Mick Maurer whether Sikorsky will stay in Stratford, and “will there be an impact on jobs and what will be the impact on retiree benefits.”

At an analyst meeting in December, Hayes said, “I say Sikorsky is not for sale today…but there are no sacred cows.” Thursday he was quoted by the Defense News as saying the helicopter make is “just not quite as attractive as the rest of the [UTC] businesses.”

UTC did not have any immediate response to DeLauro’s comments Thursday.

DeLauro has been a longtime champion of the helicopter-maker, battling the Pentagon over giving a Russian company a  contract to provide Afghan forces with helicopters.

Connecticut’s senators also reacted to UTC’s announcement, issuing a joint statement.

“For generations, Sikorsky and its uniquely skilled and highly trained Connecticut workforce have provided our nation’s warfighters with the most capable and advanced helicopters,” the senators said.

“During this period of uncertainty over its ownership structure, we will remain in close contact with Sikorsky and UTC leadership to ensure that any change preserves the vital defense industrial base in Connecticut and the manufacturing workforce that clocks in every day to build the best helicopters in the world.”

Ana has written about politics and policy in Washington, D.C.. for Gannett, Thompson Reuters and UPI. She was a special correspondent for the Miami Herald, and a regular contributor to The New York TImes, Advertising Age and several other publications. She has also worked in broadcast journalism, for CNN and several local NPR stations. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Journalism.

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