Florida Today, the newspaper that serves the Space Coast region of Florida, ised a series of endorsements for key races on Sunday, including Mitt Romney for president. The space policy positions of Romney versus those of President Obama didn’t play that much of a role: the four members of the newspaper’s editorial board split their votes two to two on the position of “space”. The newspaper did appear encourages that a Romney Administration would continue one of the key elements of the Obama Administration’s policy, that of greater reliance on commercial providers:
In a line that bodes well for the Space Coast, he writes: “Government is generally not the source of new ideas, although innovations from NASA and the military have provided frequent exceptions.”
On space, Romney’s views match Obama’s plan for privatizing flights to the International Space Station and refocusing NASA on interplanetary missions. That approach led to a painful downsizing at Kennedy Space Center, but it also prodded our local space industry to become more competitive and productive.
Later in the editorial, though, the newspaper appeared disappointed that Obama had not carried out some of the promises he made in the 2008 campaign that led the paper to endorse him them, including one to “continue NASA’s moon-exploration program.”
In the Florida Senate race, where Sen. Bill Nelson (D) is running for reelection against Rep. Connie Mack IV (R), Florida Today endorses Nelson, citing in part his record on space in the last few years, including lobbying for passage of the 2010 NASA Authorization Act:
For the Space Coast, Nelson successfully fought to reinstate a major rocket program for missions to the moon and Mars after the White House unceremoniously killed the Constellation program. Nelson practically designed the Space Launch System rocket himself, found the money for it and took the unusual step of visiting the U.S. House to twist arms and win passage.
Nelson got all four votes of the paper’s editorial board on the topic of space.
And in the House race for the district that now covers most of the Space Coast, Florida Today endorsed incumbent Rep. Bill Posey (R) over Shannon Roberts (D) and Richard Gillmor (I). The paper noted Posey’s work on legislation “that could benefit NASA and Brevard’s space industry”:
For example, Posey passed legislation that will open military launch sites to private space contractors the same way Kennedy Space Center has opened to SpaceX and others. He has introduced a bill that would begin stable, multiyear contracts for NASA and shield its director from politics. And he and his staff regularly visit representatives from other parts of the country to pitch the commercial and security value of the U.S. space program.
However, the paper actually preferred Roberts’s position on space, “which she considers an investment in science and technical innovation — not pursuit of the “military high ground,” as Posey sees it,” the paper noted. “Roberts, a retired NASA manager, expressed stronger support for commercializing flights to low Earth orbit, a strategy already making Brevard’s economy more resilient.” Posey and Roberts split the four votes of the paper’s editorial board.