Kansas Republican Says Aviation Is A "Major Driver" Of Kansas
Kansas Republican gubernatorial candidate Sam Brownback
(pictured), who currently serves as U.S. Senator from that state,
unveiled what he calls a "Road Map for Kansas Aviation" at a news
conference in Wichita Tuesday.
Brownback made the announcement to Kansas aviation business
leaders who had just attended the Wichita Aero Club luncheon at the
Airport Hilton in Wichita. "The Kansas Aviation Industry is a
major driver of the Kansas economy," Senator Brownback said. "The
Wichita Aerospace Cluster has unique industry, research and
development, and training partnerships that are the envy of the
world. We must defend our industry from other states and nations
who have targeted it and want to take it away."
Brownback said his administration would work closely with
industry on current competitiveness issues as well as look ahead at
future trends and be prepared for the next growth opportunities.
"Kansas needs to be proactive instead of reactive on new program
starts and be prepared for the future direction of the industry. To
assist in this effort, I will form an aviation advisory committee
of leaders from all segments of the industry. We will develop a
strategy to address current challenges as well as prepare for
future opportunities," Brownback said.
The candidate said among his priorities would be expanding
programs at such facilities as the National Center for Aviation
Training (NCAT), universities, and local schools that train the
next generation of aerospace engineers, machinists, mechanics, and
technicians as well as build upon the advanced research and
development capabilities at the National Institute for Aviation
Research (NIAR) and its proven expertise in the development of
composite and other advanced materials for the commercial and
general aviation industry. "We must inspire and prepare our young
people to be the dreamers and innovators of tomorrow who will lead
this industry forward," Brownback said.
Brownback renewed the campaign's commitment to build WSU's
Aerospace Engineering Program into the nation's best and leverage
the assets of NCAT and NIAR to enhance Wichita's leadership
position and remain the Air Capital of the World. "We will make it
a priority to help our existing companies grow as well as
aggressively pursue opportunities to bring aerospace companies and
jobs, including those in commercial space vehicles manufacturing,
from other states and countries to Kansas," Brownback said.
Brownback continued "One area where we can leverage our existing
infrastructure and expertise is in the expanding market of
commercial space flight. We will pursue partnering opportunities
with our existing companies and private space companies on the
design and manufacture of commercial space vehicles as well
encourage them to locate some of their facilities here. This type
of manufacturing lines up nicely with our core competencies in
composites and aerospace structures."
Brownback's Democratic opponent, Tom Holland, said through a
spokesman he already has "concrete commitments" for investment in
the Kansas workforce and expand research, though not specifically
in aviation. Campaign spokesman Seth Bundy also told ABC News in an
e-mail that Brownback voted for both the bailout of "Wall Street
crooks who created this mess." as well as against the extension of
unemployment benefits, which he said would have hurt unemployed
aviation workers in Kansas.