Patty in the News

U.S. Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Kit Bond, R-Mo., launched the United States Senate Aerospace Caucus on Thursday with a luncheon featuring Secretary of the U.S. Air Force Michael Donley.

"(W)e know what happens to an industry in our country when it doesn't have a plan for the future. The U.S. auto industry give us a fresh and painful cautionary tale," Murray said, according to a printed copy of her remarks.

"Today we are all here to avoid the same fate for our Aerospace industry, an industry that provides family-wage jobs, meets our military's most critical needs, and is the backbone of economic growth in states like mine," she added. "Today, we are here to join together as political, industry, and military leaders to ensure that the Aerospace industry has the durability to survive changing economic times, the innovative ideas to succeed in the future, and the investment to compete on the international stage."

The U.S. needs a "clear national strategy," focusing on education, innovation, reform of defense acquisition and infrastructure and technology investment, Murray said.

In a news release, Bond said: "Senator Murray and I formed this caucus as a bipartisan effort to protect and advocate for a strong, secure and competitive American Aerospace industry. Keeping the American Aerospace industry strong for today, and tomorrow, is crucial to our national defense and economic security."

In a separate statement, Aerospace Industries Association President and Chief Executive Marion Blakey called the caucus "an important forum for senators, their staff and representatives from the aerospace industry to discuss issues that impact the nation's defense, civil aviation and space sectors."

The senators said they created the caucus to provide oversight of aerospace defense programs, promote government spending on U.S. aviation infrastructure and development, ensure a competitive industrial base, and promote education and workforce development programs that prepare Americans for careers in the aerospace industry.

In addition to Murray and Bond, who chair the caucus, the group currently has 20 senators. Notably missing at this point are Republican Sens. Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby, of Alabama, which is home to major aerospace programs and would be the site of EADS North America's aerial refueling tanker assembly line should the company beat out Boeing for the lucrative contract.

Matt McAlvanah, Murray's press secretary, said all senators have been invited to join the caucus.

In addition to Murray and Bond, the initial members are:

  • Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.
  • Mark Begich, D-Alaska
  • Michael Bennet, D-Colo.
  • Robert Bennett, R-Utah
  • Sam Brownback, R-Kan.
  • Richard Burr, R-N.C.
  • Roland Burris, D-Ill.
  • Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.
  • Thad Cochran, R-Miss.
  • John Cornyn, R-Texas
  • Christopher Dodd, D-Conn.
  • John Ensign, R-Nevada
  • Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas
  • James Inhofe, R-Oklahoma
  • Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.
  • Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.
  • James Risch, R-Idaho
  • Pat Roberts, R-Kan.
  • David Vitter, R-La.
  • John Tester, D-Mont.
- SeattlPI.com