Fla. Senate Head Haridopolos: Shuttle Shutdown Snuffs 1,900 Jobs

Wednesday, 20 Apr 2011 04:50 PM

By Hiram Reisner

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The federal government has failed nearly 2,000 Floridians who are losing jobs because of the closure of NASA’s space shuttle program, by not delivering on a promise of grants to offset the losses, State Senate President Mike Haridopolos writes in a column in the Orlando Sentinel.

Mike Haridopolos, Florida, Shuttle
Sen. Mike Haridopolos: Feds are failing Florida workers. (AP Photo)
Haridopolos, who is seeking the GOP nomination to challenge U.S. Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, also wrote Wednesday that, despite limited resources, the Florida Legislature increased space-program funding by more than 600 percent last year.

“About 1,900 Floridians will lose their jobs, many of them their careers, before the summer is out because of the end of NASA's space shuttle program,” Haridopolos said. “With most day-to-day operations ceasing after the Shuttle Atlantis launches in late June, and still no clear continuing mission for NASA, contractor United Launch Alliance has no other choice.

“To make matters worse, the federal government, which assured us it had a plan for support and aggressive economic development, has failed us with empty promises that impact not only our citizens, but our spectacular space program,” Haridopolos wrote. “One year ago, President Obama and Sen. Bill Nelson came to Kennedy Space Center and announced with much fanfare the creation of an economic task force and promised $40 million in funding to offset the loss of jobs.

“After local and regional organizations spent several months developing programs and proposals to use the federal grants, we have yet to see any of the promised dollars. That's a failure in leadership,” he continued. “All Americans, especially NASA employees and Space Coast residents, deserve better.”

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