Mayor's Office

Press Release


Mayor Parker will have a media availability to answer questions about her trip to Washington D.C. at 1 p.m. in the Proclamation Room, 3rd Floor, Houston City Hall


March 15, 2010 -- Mayor Parker is headed to Washington D.C. this week for meetings with NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood and members of Congress.  She will reiterate her support for METRO’s planned expansion of light rail and seek reconsideration of the cancellation of NASA’s Constellation program.  The mayor’s visit is part of a broader effort to save the manned space flight program that involves the local congressional delegation, Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership, the Greater Houston Partnership and the city.


The trip follows a personal letter sent last week in which Mayor Parker urged President Obama to cease current efforts to terminate the Constellation program.  “Human space flight is vital to the Houston economy,” Parker wrote.  “The Constellation program would help our Johnson Space Center workforce transition effectively as the Shuttle is retired from active service.  Without Constellation, we could lose anywhere from 4,000 to 7,000 high-tech jobs.  The economic impact to Houston and the region would be devastating, on the order of $560 million.”


Mayor Parker is a strong supporter of expansion of light rail in Houston and she wants to make sure the Federal Transit Administration knows that.  The President’s budget proposal includes $900 million for the next phase of rail.  “I strongly believe the funding is secure,” said Parker.  “However, due to the revelations of the last few weeks and the ongoing district attorney’s investigation, it is important that Washington hear from me that Houston remains committed to this project.”


Concerned about an apparent lack of transparency, the mayor appointed transition teams to look at METRO’s finances, regional coordination, light rail plans and basic services.  She has called for new management at the transit agency.  To that end, she will be announcing new city appointees for the METRO board later this week.


March 17, 2010 -- Media Advisory from the 111th Congress of the United States


Houston Congressional Delegation to Join with Houston Mayor to Voice Support for Constellation Program


Washington, D.C. – Reps. Gene Green, Pete Olson, Sheila Jackson Lee, Kevin Brady, John Culberson, Al Green, Mike McCaul, and Ted Poe will join with Houston Mayor Annise Parker to hold a press conference on their coordinated and bipartisan effort to save the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Constellation program.


The Constellation Program was introduced by NASA in 2004 for testing and deploying new technologies, systems, flight operations and techniques to serve future space exploration. The Administration’s proposed budget cuts the Constellation program jeopardizing America’s leading role in human space exploration. Additionally, approximately 7,000 local jobs and 31,000 national jobs will be directly and indirectly affected by the proposed cut.


WHO -- Mayor Annise Parker, Rep. Gene Green (D-TX), Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), Rep. John Culberson (R-TX), Rep. Al Green (D-TX), Rep. Mike McCaul (R-TX), Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX)

WHAT -- Constellation Program Press Conference

WHEN -- Thursday, March 18, 2010 / Pre-set 9:30am Eastern / Press Conference 10:15am Eastern

WHERE -- 2456 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515


Mayor Parker, Houston Congressional Delegation Join Together in Support of Constellation


March 18, 2010 -- Washington, DC – Houston Mayor Annise Parker (D), and Reps. Gene Green (D), Pete Olson (R), Sheila Jackson Lee (D), Kevin Brady (R), John Culberson (R), Al Green (D), Michael McCaul (R), and Ted Poe (R) today joined together in a bipartisan effort to express unified support for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Constellation program.  The President’s FY2011 budget would kill the Constellation program, placing America’s ability to send humans in to space in jeopardy and place thousands of jobs at Johnson Space Center (JSC) and across the nation in jeopardy.


Mayor Annise Parker said, “While I am pleased we have begun the discussion, many questions remain unanswered and I continue to have serious concerns about the future of human space flight and the role JSC will play under the administration's proposed NASA budget."


Rep. Gene Green said, “Given our current economic downturn, we cannot take the possibility of an additional 20,000 - 30,000 national job losses lightly. Our government has already invested literally years and billions of dollars into this program. We should build upon these investments and not abandon them.”


Rep. Pete Olson said, “Constellation was overwhelmingly approved by both Republican and Democratic controlled Congresses precisely because human space flight is such an intrinsic component of American exceptionalism.  It is also critical to our ability to remain competitive globally in the fields of science and technology.  I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with my Houston colleagues to make the case for the national value and benefits of the investment in Constellation.”


Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee said, “NASA’s Constellation Program is vital to maintaining America’s leadership role in human space exploration, creating jobs, and boosting the economy. Continuation of NASA’s Constellation Program is crucial to improving national security, climate, and research in science and medicine. That is why I introduced legislation March 9 to ensure that all Constellation space flight activities continue through 2016 and that we designate NASA as a national security interest and asset.”


Rep. Kevin Brady said, “NASA technologies like the Constellation Program are fundamental to the Greater Houston area not just for jobs but also for technology development.  If this program is scrapped we will see an immediate job loss at a time when the Houston area needs to be creating jobs, not killing them.”


Rep. John Culberson said, “The Constellation Program is the best program to keep our country at the forefront of space exploration. I am strongly opposed to the president’s proposal because yielding the high ground in space will make America less competitive and put our space program at risk.”


Rep. Al Green said, “The ‘Constellation Program’ is a shovel ready jobs program. This program’s cancellation would not only have a negative effect on Houston’s economy, but also on the national economy. In Houston, by some estimates, 10,000 direct and indirect jobs could be lost, in addition to 20,000 to 30,000 jobs nationwide. We need to invest in these jobs as our nation continues to fight for the stability of its job market.”


Rep. Michael McCaul said, “Every president since Washington has had a wish list but in the United States it's the Congress that writes the budget. We have growing bipartisan support and we intend to make sure human space flight and exploration remains the core mission of America's space program."


Rep. Ted Poe said, ““Giving up on our space program will not only devastate our local economy and the engineering and aerospace industries, but will be a crippling blow to our national psyche.  ‘Houston’ was the first word heard on the moon, not ‘Moscow,’ not ‘Beijing.’  NASA is America’s legacy – Houston’s legacy.”