99 Degrees in the Shade
Jul 07 2010
On a blistering 99-degree day that shattered temperature records, Senator Warner returned to Virginia's Eastern Shore and Hampton Roads to highlight the region's role in the nation's space program as well as efforts to strengthen the economic recovery and spur innovation in our public schools.
First stop: Wallops Island, where NASA has operated a launch facility for 65
years. It's also where a joint Virginia-Maryland Mid Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) represents a unique partnership in commercial space opportunities.
For example, Northern Virginia-based Orbital Sciences Corporation has invested more than $500 million in the development of a low-cost rocket to be launched from a new MARS launch pad at Wallops. Orbital also has a nearly $2 billion contract with NASA for eight missions to supply cargo to the International Space Station.
"These spaceflight opportunities at Wallops offer a huge potential," Senator Warner said after a NASA briefing at the Wallops Range Control Center. "I want to look for ways to perhaps provide more federal support to allow us to upgrade the mission and the capabilities at Wallops."
Next stop: a luncheon in Melfa for about 50 locally-elected officials and
community leaders from the Eastern Shore localities of Accomack and Northampton
counties. Reporter Carol Vaughn of The Eastern Shore News wrote about it:
"Warner met with local officials and business representatives at Eastern Shore Community College and spoke about his first 18 months in office, addressing financial and health care reform and taking questions from the audience.
He said both President Bush's TARP initiative and President Obama's stimulus funding initiative, while unpopular, were needed to stabilize the economy after the nation came very close to a complete financial collapse in autumn 2008.
Warner supports legislation that would increase the amount of lending to small businesses by some $60 billion, as well as legislation that has already passed the House of Representatives which would give homeowners up to $3,000 in matching funds to retrofit older homes for energy efficiency. But he said it is the private sector ultimately that will have to restart the economy, adding, "There's not going to be some single macro-solution."
"We've got to get our country's fiscal house in order ... That is going to take some hard choices," he said.
Senator Warner also dropped-by the new Onley Community Health Center, which is scheduled to open in about a month. The facility has recceived financial support from the stimulus package as well as help from the Virginia Health Care Foundation, which Senator Warner co-founded almost 20 years ago.
By mid-afternoon, Senator Warner had crossed over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, the 20-mile-long series of tunnels and bridges which for nearly 50 years has been the primary link between the Eastern Shore and Hampton Roads. In fact, when it was built, it was considered one of the engineering wonders of the world.
In Portsmouth, the Senator met with about 30 teachers, principals and other public school administrators in the library of Hodges Manor Elementary School.
This year, 100% of Portsmouth public schools achieved full state accreditation for the first time ever, and Portsmouth educators give a lot of the credit to then-Governor Warner's focus on education reform and innovation.
"I remember when people told me, 'Governor, it can't be done in Portsmouth,' but you have proved them wrong and I congratulate you," Senator Warner said. "What y'all have achieved here in Portsmouth is a remarkable success story."