Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), the new chairman of the space subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee, issued a press release on the occasion of the subcommittee’s first hearing this year, on ISS research. In the release Hutchison promised “a reinvigorated subcommittee that oversees and works with NASA leaders” on ISS research and (presumably) related issues. Reading that, I couldn’t help but see that as a subtle dig at the former subcommittee chairman, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS), who chaired hearings in the previous Congress on a diverse range of issues, from Saturn to NEOs to international space exploration efforts. Frequently, those hearings were poorly attended by members of the subcommittee; sometimes only Brownback and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), or even just Brownback, were in attendance. The press release doesn’t make clear exactly how she plans to “reinvigorate” the subcommittee. Of course, if Hutchison does decide to mount a campaign for Texas governor in 2006, it will doubtless sap a lot of her time that might otherwise be spent on subcommittee issues.