Rep. Terri Sewell to be voice for TN Valley on NASA affairs

Published: Jun. 10, 2011 at 8:03 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 8, 2011 at 5:53 PM CDT
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North Alabama leaders are looking for help from other parts of the state to maintain Huntsville's space legacy. Alabama's 7th District Congresswoman Terri Sewell met with the Tennessee Valley's "Second to None" committee on space exploration Friday morning.

Although Sewell represents a district to Madison County's south and west, she was actually born in Huntsville. She said ensuring that North Alabama continues to be at the forefront of space and technology is good for the entire state.

"I believe that the city of Huntsville is a shining example of all that is right about American innovation and technology and science," Sewell said. "And so I'm here to listen and to learn and to be a better advocate on behalf of the whole state."

NASA's Constellation program is essentially dead, but the Marshall Space Flight Center on Redstone Arsenal is now the program manager for the heavy-lift module of the next rocket to be developed.

Though just a freshman representative, Sewell is a member of the House Science and Technology committee, which local leaders hope will give North Alabama an additional voice in Washington.

"She is a rising star in the freshman class, and it's always great to have someone with that kind of vision who is working with you," said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle.

With Sewell being the sole Democrat in Alabama's congressional delegation, Battle hopes she can rally support for our space industry from the other side of the aisle. Battle said since they now have a NASA budget, what is needed is a clear mission.

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