Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), a supporter of commercial space legislation, has moved up in the leadership of House of Representatives. Meanwhile, another commercial space supporter, California State Sen. Steve Knight (R-Palmdale), will be competing to represent California in the Congressional district that adjoins McCarthy’s district.
McCarthy’s elevation to the position of House Majority Leader followed the defeat of Eric Cantor (R-VA), who lost a primary challenge earlier this month. The loss meant Cantor would not be able to stand for re-election as the Republican Party’s candidate in Virginia’s 7th District.
The Majority Leader is the second-ranked position in the House, with the responsibility of scheduling the legislative calendar and managing House committees.
McCarthy — who represents the 23rd Congressional district that includes Mojave, Rosamond, California City and Edwards Air Force Base — had previously served as House Majority Whip. In that position, he kept track of legislation and rounded up legislators for important votes.
California State Sen. Steve Knight (R-Palmdale), a key supporter of commercial space, could be heading to Congress next year with the pending retirement of Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-Santa Clarita).
McKeon, 75, announced on Thursday that he would not seek an 11th term representing California’s 25th District, which includes parts of the aerospace-rich Antelope Valley that Knight represents in the State Legislature. Knight earlier stated that he would run for Congress if McKeon decided not to seek re-election.
Knight is one of several Republican and Democratic candidates who have already declared their intentions to run for the position. The 25th District includes the cities of Palmdale and Lancaster and the southern Antelope Valley. The region has a proud aviation and space heritage, hosting Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works as well as the facilities where the space shuttles were built. The district is home to many employees who work at nearby Edwards Air Force Base and the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center.
The NASA Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base will be renamed after the late Apollo 11 Commander Neil Armstrong under a measure that has unanimously passed by the Senate and House of Representatives.
The measure, which now goes to President Barack Obama for signature, would rename the Western Aeronautical Test Range at Edwards the Hugh L. Dryden Aeronautical Test Range. Dryden served as NASA deputy administrator from 1958 to 1965.
“I’m honored that the Senate has passed my legislation, which will now go to the President’s desk for his signature that recognizes the rich history of Neil Armstrong and Hugh Dryden in Kern County and the Antelope Valley,” said Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who sponsored the bill. “As we reflect on the achievements and legacy of these great Americans, it is exciting to see our region continue to lead the way in innovation in space exploration and aeronautical research and scientific discovery.”
McCarthy represents California’s 23rd Congressional District, which includes NASA Dryden and Edwards Air Force Base. Armstrong, who died in 2012, worked as a test pilot at the desert facility, where he conducted major testing on the X-15 rocket plane.
McCarthy had eight co-sponsors of the measure, including Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, a Republican who represents California’s 25th Congressional District that includes the southern part of the Antelope Valley where Edwards and NASA Dryden are located.
November 29, 2012 – Washington D.C. (Press Release) – Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon and Congressman Kevin McCarthy today announced legislation to redesignate the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Dryden Flight Research Center as the Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center and the Western Aeronautical Test Range as the Hugh L. Dryden Aeronautical Test Range. Joining Congressman McCarthy in introducing this legislation are Congressman Buck McKeon, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, Congressman Ken Calvert, Congressman Lamar Smith, Congressman Steven Palazzo, and Congressman Adam Schiff.