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Thu, Feb 23, 2012

State Lt. Governors To President Obama: 'Let's Partner To Advance Aerospace'

Recommends Support For Programs Such As Build-A-Plane, Real World Design Challenge

The Aerospace States Association (ASA) ... a group comprised of the Lt. Governors of several states with extensive aerospace interests or the Governor's desingees ... has written a letter to President Obama to seek a stronger recognition of the states’ role in the success of national aerospace policies and strategies. The group reminds the President that the U.S. aerospace industry is a key employer in their states. With almost $81 billion in exports and a positive trade balance of nearly $49 billion, the continued health of this industry is significant to U.S. economic growth. In addition, many states and commercial aerospace companies are making significant investments in launch facilities, aerospace manufacturing facilities, and other aerospace-related enterprise that will help America maintain its global leadership.

"We suggest at least four ways that states can partner with the federal government to accomplish national goals," said Alaska Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell (pictured), Chair of ASA. "We believe that America’s leadership in aerospace and aerospace exports depends upon policies of the states, as well as the national government, and that together we can foster a national recognition of the NSP and NSSS stated goals of aerospace leadership. To this end, we suggest a Memorandum of Understanding or joint announcement, in which the White House and states agree to work together toward maintaining U.S. aerospace leadership. Such an announcement would make our partnership clear to the nation.

"Five of our member states have developed launch facilities, yet the role of states are not mentioned in either the NSP or NSSS (though the policies do recognize commercial companies, federal agencies and even foreign governments). We believe the launch sites in Alaska, California, Florida, New Mexico and Virginia are essential to realizing several goals of the NSP including lowering launch costs, relying more on the commercial sector, and achieving resilience and responsive space capabilities. In recognition of this fact, we urge the Administration to issue a directive or to add language to the Space Transportation Policy that encourages federal agencies to partner directly with state space agencies in pursuit of NSP goals.

"Your policies make very strong note of the value of STEM education. ASA is active in support of aerospace education programs including the Real World Design Challenge (RWDC) and Build A Plane. We appreciate the fact that you’ve entertained RWDC winners at the White House, and hope that continues as an ongoing tradition. We request that you further engage state government in your interagency work to promote STEM education, in order to enhance our mutual outreach capability.

"Your policies recognize the importance of science and technology to America’s leadership in space and aviation. We believe that states’ aerospace research, development and test infrastructure is key to this leadership, and we urge you to further engage state government in your interagency work to support and grow this infrastructure."

The ASA says in its letter that these four suggestions would include states as equal and legitimate partners in meeting U.S. aerospace goals. It also allows the federal government to leverage states’ resources. Aerospace states are committed to investing state funds to recapitalize U.S. launch infrastructure, to providing tax credits, prizes and other incentives to expand aerospace industry opportunities and associated economic growth, and to educating our youth to become the next generation of aerospace workers.

ASA was formed in 1993 to promote a state-based perspective in federal aerospace policy development and to support state aerospace initiatives that enhance economic development opportunities and student/teacher education outreach including the RWDC. It maintains direct ties to the executive branches of state governments throughout the nation. The dialogue between state Lt. Governors and the administration will begin at ASA’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. on March 20, 2012 at 0815 EST in room 2325 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

FMI: www.aerostates.org

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