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Citizens for Space Exploration state their case on Capitol Hill for 23rd consecutive year
05/26/2014

   

Joining the grassroots Citizens for Space Exploration delegation were: (standing l to r)
Texas State Sen. Sylvia Garcia; Dr. Brenda Hellyer, chancellor, San Jacinto College District
 and chair, BAHEP Board of Directors; Houston City Council Member Dave Martin; and seated,
Bob Mitchell, BAHEP president; and David Braun, BAHEP aerospace marketing manager and trip coordinator.



    Much has changed in Congress over the past 23 years, but each May legislators on Capitol Hill can count on at least one constant – the annual visit by the Citizens for Space Exploration. From May 20-22, 2014, 104 travelers conducted 354 congressional visits to advance support for human space exploration.
    The diverse group of travelers broke into 26 teams whose messages included support for NASA’s human space exploration portfolio and NASA’s role in supporting American leadership, education, innovation, health care, and quality of life, all for less than half of one percent of the federal budget. Talking points also included concern about Russia and the increasing importance of a well-funded NASA in uncertain geopolitical times.
    Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership is home to the CSE-Texas delegation. BAHEP President Bob Mitchell stressed the importance of the 354 congressional visits that were scheduled in advance of the trip. He stated, “We don’t just drop off a folder of information. Each team sits down and talks with either the senator or representative or members of his or her staff.
    “We educate, discuss our concerns and then answer any questions that they have. This one-on-one approach has proven to be very effective over the past 23 years.”

Teams provided valuable feedback
Based on their congressional meetings, the teams provided valuable feedback which included:
• There was strong bipartisan support for NASA with more understanding of NASA’s space exploration programs than in previous years.
• The response to CSE’s platform concerning support for the International Space Station, the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, the Space Launch System, and Commercial Crew/Cargo was very positive.
• The budget is always a challenge.
• The case for the value of human spaceflight will have to be made continuously.
    The Citizens for Space Exploration also hosted a Congressional Reception for members of Congress and their staff. Nine members attended, and approximately 60 staff from both congressional offices and committees attended, as well.
    Congressional attendees were: Ami Bera (D-CA-7), Gene Green (D-TX-29), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX-18), Doug Lamborn (R-CO-5), Alan Nunnelee (R-MS-1), Pete Olson (R-TX-22), Steven Palazzo (R-MS-4), Bill Posey (R-FL-8), and Steve Stockman (R-TX-36).
    Several travelers were instrumental to the success of this year’s trip to Washington. They included David Braun, BAHEP aerospace marketing manager, trip coordinator; Brian Freedman, manager, State and Local Government Operations, The Boeing Company in Houston, and trip chairman; and Joe Mayer from Florida, director of Government Relations with Lockheed Martin and chairman of CSE National.
    Braun stated, “This trip takes months of preparatory work every year, but it is so worth the effort. If Americans want to maintain their leadership across-the-board, an important piece of that puzzle is NASA and a strong human space exploration program with definitive missions.
    “The continued support for NASA’s Commercial Crew and Cargo efforts in low earth orbit and with the companies associated with this initiative is so important to those missions.”

Local elected officials served on teams
There were also many local elected officials who served on the teams and assisted in making members of Congress aware of the strong support this nation has for human space exploration and the impact it makes on our lives.
    The elected officials included: Texas State Sen. Sylvia Garcia, Houston Councilmember Dave Martin, League City Mayor Tim Paulissen, Nassau Bay Mayor Mark Denman, Nassau Bay Mayor Pro-tem David Braun, Friendswood Councilmember Carl Gustafson, League City Mayor Pro Tem Andy Mann, and Seabrook Councilmen Mike Giangrosso, Robert Lorente, and Thom Kolupski.

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