Monday, December 13, 2010

Udall Statement on Federal and State Partnership with NASA and CAMT That Will Create Jobs and Strengthen Colorado’s Economy

Today, Governor Ritter announced a new agreement between NASA and the Colorado Association for Manufacturing and Technology (CAMT) that will accelerate the commercialization of new technologies and encourage the manufacturing of aerospace and clean-tech devices and systems in Colorado. The State of Colorado and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory are also partners in the new initiative. This move will create new jobs and strengthen these growing industries.

Before being elected to the Senate, Mark sat on the U.S. House of Representatives Science and Technology Committee and chaired the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee. He has worked closely with NASA and CAMT to facilitate their partnership and help maintain Colorado’s leadership in clean energy and aerospace innovation. Although Mark was unable to attend the announcement, he issued the following statement:

“I regret that I cannot join you in person this morning. Congress still has a full plate of work to do before the end of the year. And I am glad we are staying in session additional days to do it. Unfortunately, votes today in the Senate forced me to return to Washington sooner than expected.

“It is an honor to be a part of this ceremony recognizing a truly exciting milestone in Colorado’s economy. I feel it is important to acknowledge the great work being done – even if it is only in a small way through a prepared statement.

“First and foremost, I want to acknowledge Elaine Thorndike and her team at the Colorado Association for Manufacturing and Technology. If it weren’t for their extraordinary vision and hard work, this would never have been possible.

“I also want to acknowledge their partners in this endeavor – Governor Ritter and his team, NASA, and NREL – whose support and participation will make this initiative the envy of the nation.

“The Technology Acceleration Program and Aerospace and Clean Energy Park build on extraordinary regional strengths here in Colorado. Colorado is consistently ranked as one of the top three aerospace economies in the nation. We are also a leader in the emerging clean energy economy. And, as you all know, we have a highly educated, high-tech workforce and an extensive network of federal labs, top-flight universities, and innovative private sector companies.

“The Program and the Park represent an opportunity to leverage these strengths to create thousands of new jobs. They will enhance our leadership not only in aerospace and clean energy, but every sector of Colorado’s economy will benefit from these programs and the lessons learned as a result – such as biotechnology and information technology.

“It is collaborations like this between state and federal groups, with significant buy-in from industry and academia, that will be responsible for much of our economic recovery and will spur future innovations. And, historically, innovation has been the driver behind economic growth in America.

“We still have a deep economic hole to climb out of. I learned a long time ago that the first thing you do when you find yourself in a hole is to stop digging. And I am trying to convince my colleagues in Washington of that same lesson.

“However, to me, this initiative represents a ladder that will help us climb out. I am excited to have such an initiative in Colorado, anxious to see the jobs and opportunities it will create, and eager to support you at the federal level.

“The story of the West told in popular accounts is all too often about the lone pioneer taming a wild land, glorifying a fierce independence in the face of harsh conditions. But, as you all know, the real story of the West is about collaboration. Our true strength comes from working together with a shared vision toward a common goal. That story is embodied in the Technology Acceleration Program and the Park. And it is what will keep us strong in the future.”