Fla. State Rep. Crisafulli: Space Must Be Public/Private Frontier

Friday, 19 Aug 2011 02:01 PM

By Henry J. Reske and Ashley Martella

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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) must play a part in any resurgence of the manned space program but a private/public partnership would be good for the industry, Florida state Rep. Steve Crisafulli tells Newsmax.TV.

The end of the NASA’s 30-year-old shuttle program has hit Crisafulli’s 32nd District hard. NASA and related contractors have reportedly cut thousands of jobs in the state.

“Certainly we’ve done a lot here in the state of Florida to give Space Florida, our economic development agency for space, the toolbox to operate and be attractive and draw commercial opportunities here but I do believe that NASA needs to have a part in that,” he said in an exclusive Newsmax interview.

“So I would say a good mix of public private partnerships would be good for the industry, and I would hope that Washington would recognize that and build on that.”

Story continues below video.





Crisafulli, who counts among family members a Florida governor and state Supreme Court chief justice, also weighed in on the controversy surrounding Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., in her new position as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.

“Obviously, she has a job to do, and I understand that,” he said. “Unfortunately it puts politics above policy and obviously I understand and the people understand that she’s doing a job for the DNC but for me it becomes a little more personal in understanding she divides the delegation here in this state with our congressional members in Washington.

“Now more than ever . . . we need to have a delegation that’s joined together on these issues and I think the position she holds divides her from the other members. Is she doing a good job? Maybe the DNC thinks she is, but as a Republican, I think it’s unfortunate that she takes stands on certain issues as she does because it does divide our delegation.”

Wasserman Schultz is also in the middle of a bitter feud with fellow Floridian Rep. Allen West, R-Fla. West called her the "most vile, unprofessional, and despicable member" of the House. West leveled his broadside after Wasserman Schultz criticized West for his support of the cut, cap, and balance bill and said the measure would harm Medicare recipients in West’s district.

“It’s become personal between the two of them,” Crisafulli said. “Obviously I think she’s being unfair, but this is more than what it’s made out to be, it’s become a little more personal.”

On other subjects, Crisafulli said:
  • The Florida housing market “obviously got overinflated during the boom, and now they are coming down to adjust and I’m confident that hopefully in the next few years we’ll start making our slow progress up again.”
  • The way to tackle the unemployment rate in Florida was for the state legislature to continue to be friendly to businesses and to be competitive with other states to bring businesses to this state.
  • The issue of unemployment benefits, which will be reduced in January in Florida, is personal to him because of the number of NASA workers in his district. However, he said, it “is important that we kind of keep a fine line there that allows businesses to keep their doors open . . . So there’s certainly a tradeoff there. We have to be conscious of that, we’ve got to find a fine balance and I think we’ve found that balance.”


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