Former NASA Official Says Election is Important for Space Coast Future.
October 26, 2010 | WMFE - The future of the nation's space program is among the top concerns for voters along Florida's Space Coast and it has far-reaching implications for the entire state.
As many as 10,000 jobs are expected to be lost as NASA's shuttle program winds down and the effect of the layoffs ripples through the economy. However, a former NASA official and space policy expert says this is not a traditional election issue.
Scott Pace is director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University in Washington DC, and he was a program analyst at NASA during the last Bush administration.
Dr. Pace says any politician representing the Space Coast in Congress will advocate for NASA funding regardless of the representative’s party affiliation.
In fact, Pace says, space policy is one area where Republicans and Democrats have been able to work together.
“The issue that’s been coming up is not really one of Democrat versus Republican. It’s really been one of the White House versus the Congress.” Pace said, “Congress has been the most reluctant and skeptical about the administration's plans for space.”
Pace says voters looking for a candidate who will work to support the space industry should look for someone with a long-range perspective. “I think it’s important that they focus on the larger strategic purpose of space for international leadership and economic growth.” Pace said, “It’s not simply about near term jobs.”
To hear more from Dr. Pace, click the "Play Audio" button above.
PROGRAM NOTE: This story is part of a three-part series on the issues facing Central Florida voters as they head to the polls. Tune in to 90.7 tomorrow during Morning Edition at 6:33 and 8:33, as we focus on the issue of healthcare.