Hall eyes Science Committee chair

The Dallas Morning News reports that Congressman Ralph Hall hopes to succeed Rep. Sherwood Boehlert as chairman of the House Science Committee. Boehlert will have to step down from the chairmanship of the committee after the 2006 elections because of term limits on committee chairs. Hall, a longtime Democrat who switched to the Republican Party in early 2004 as part of the fallout from the controversial Congressional redistricting in Texas, was allowed to retain his seniority in the House when he switched parties. Hall, though, has to both win reelection in 2006 (probably not a big worry: he got 68 percent of the vote in 2004) and hope the Republican Party retains control of the House. The 82-year-old Hall, the oldest member of the House, isn’t planning to retire any time soon: “I’m in good health and doing well. I think I can be re-elected.”

2 comments to Hall eyes Science Committee chair

  • Jim Muncy

    For the record, I think Mr. Hall would make an excellent Chairman. He is committed to real results in space, not just effort. As an example, back in 1992 he spoke to the very first Space Frontier Conference. This was a huge deal because he was chair of the House Space subcommittee, and a top champion of the Space Station program. The Foundation had opposed Space Station Freedom for two years running.

    Not only did Ralph give the banquet address, but he absolutely *floored* the JSC aerospace industry contractor attendees by saying that while Space Station Freedom was being developed, NASA should immediately make arrangements to start basing U.S. astronauts on Mir, so we could begin the research that the Space Station was supposed to deliver for the taxpayers.

    That was radical.

    Of course, NASA ended up screwing up the partnership — giving money to Russia’s government, rather than hiring their aerospace contractors — for reasons of both ego and ideology, under both Bush41 and Clinton.

    But the result was that more Americans spent more years learning how to do things in space sooner and cheaper than if NASA had continued its “keep redesigning Freedom” strategy forever.

  • Paul Torrance

    Honorable Congressman Hall is a strong supporter of NASA. I think he has the leadership skills to guide the toddler NASA from its “Sean O’Keefe declared ‘infancy'” stage into the Honorable Ken Calvert childhood “second space age” stage.

    The honorable Congressman has been in both the HatField and the McCoy party and thus understands the word “bi-partisan”.

    He is also an advocate of improving safety and the protection of the Astronauts, which is probably more important to the perceived “success” and “failure” image of NASA than many people would think – looking back at Apollo 13, for example.

    His eyes are a bit old, yet somehow I think he’s still got the vision NASA needs.

    If he survived re-districting, I imagine he can still go a long ways with his 82 year old gift.