On Monday several members of Congress, including Sen. Bill Nelson and Congressmen Tom Feeney and Dave Weldon, held a “workshop” on space issues Monday in Brevard County, Florida, where people are understandably concerned about life after the space shuttle. According to Florida Today, Nelson said that his subcommittee had proposed holding a field hearing this summer to review the future of KSC but that NASA was opposed: “I’m sad to tell you, NASA has asked me not to have a meeting, because they don’t want to stir up the people.” A NASA spokesman later contacted by the paper said that the agency would support any hearing the committee held.
The Orlando Sentinel focused on another claim made by Nelson: that space could, in effect, be a key issue in the general election because of the pivotal role of Florida, and within the state, the “I-4 corridor”, including the Space Coast. “The next president is going to decide a lot [about the space program],” Nelson said. “And East-Central Florida has an opportunity to influence the next president because, at the end of the day, Florida is going to be important this November.” However, as the Republican primary this January showed, space may not nearly be as critical issue in the state or region as some supporters hope.