Campaign '08

Post-election roundup

Some news and notes from the aftermath of Tuesday’s election:

In Florida, Congresswoman-elect Suzanne Kosmas is seeking a seat on the House Science and Technology Committee, an assignment the man she defeated for the job, Tom Feeney, also had. Congressman-elect Bill Posey, who won the seat vacated by Dave Weldon, apparently is not interested in the Science Committee and is unlikely to win a place on the Appropriations Committee, where Weldon served, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

The Houston Chronicle is worried that the defeat of Congressman Nick Lampson “potentially could erode congressional support for NASA” in general and the Johnson Space Center, in Lampson’s district, in particular. Lampson had been promised the chairmanship of the Science Committee’s space subcommittee had he won reelection.

Congressman-elect Parker Griffith, who won the seat vacated by Bud Cramer in northern Alabama, is looking forward to meeting with the next defense secretary and NASA administrator. “I would much prefer sitting down with them over anyone else I can think of,” he told the Huntsville Times.

The defeat of a tax referendum in Otero County, New Mexico, will not derail plans for Spaceport America, backers of the commercial spaceport told the Las Cruces Sun-News. The tax would have provided a few million dollars towards the $200-million cost of the spaceport, and spaceport officials are looking at alternatives, including both federal financing and taxes in other counties in the area.

Whither the Obamanauts? Despite the energetic efforts of Democratic space advocates on the Space Coast, Obama did not win Brevard County, and while the margin of victory for McCain was narrower there than it was for George W. Bush four years ago, similar changes in margin were seen in other counties in the state outside the region. Nonetheless, their candidate did win the state and the overall election, so what’s next? According to, they may become “watchdogs” to ensure President Obama follows through on his space policy proposals. Alternatively, they could take on a more general role to raise awareness about space policy.

Finally, an election that has nothing to do with space, but has some ties to a space traveler: Sonia Chang-Diaz was elected to the Massachusetts Senate, winning a seat in Boston. She is the daughter of former NASA astronaut Franklin Chang-Diaz.

1 comment to Post-election roundup

  • Charles in Houston

    OK I have to admit that (as if most people that visit here would not know) that I am not an Obama supporter. That said, I do try to maintain some independence from purely political rantings.

    Space just is not a big issue for any of the national politicians, so we can look at the trends and see where we are going. Rep Nick Lampson worked for the benefit of his district as Pete Olson will – no national political figure wants rapid changes so probably space spending will more stagnate or slowly decline. Certainly with the deficit and the current economic reaction (to the over heated housing bubble) and the two armed conflicts and the priorities more in reduction of carbon emissions – there is gonna be no new money for space science or exploration.

    I look for the focus of the new Administration to be far from our space program. We will continue existing programs longer.


    And now for my only ranting – the Obamanauts have their first initiative – to extend unemployment for the space and military folks that are losing their jobs. The Obamanauts could help them retrain to be teachers – develop lesson plans like How The Russians Built Their Lunar Lander.

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