Senators Tour Wallops With Area Officials

Senators Tour Wallops With Area Officials
Among the officials who toured the restored Wallops Island launch pad were U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen, Maryland State Senator Jim Mathias, District 38, UMES President Juliette Bell, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin representative Kim Kratovil, Lower Eastern Shore Tri- County Council Director Mike Pennington, Somerset County Economic Development Director Danny Thompson, Worcester County Economic Development Director Merry Mears. Submitted Photo

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. ­– Maryland District 38 State Senator Jim Mathias and U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen toured the NASA Wallops Island Flight Facility this week to get a firsthand look at the employment and national value that Wallops Island provides Maryland and its citizens.

“Visiting Wallops Island underscored how crucial this facility is – not only for Maryland’s economy, but also for U.S. national security, aerospace, and meteorological research,” said Van Hollen, a member of the United States Senate Appropriations and Budget Committees. “I will continue fighting to ensure that Wallops has the federal funding it needs to carry out its mission and support good-paying tech and manufacturing jobs for Marylanders.”

Mathias initiated the senator’s visit to spotlight the vast opportunities Wallops has provided for the state.

“We invited Senator Van Hollen down here to illustrate the critical importance of the NASA Wallops facility to the Maryland economy, and specifically to District 38, Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester counties,” said Mathias. “Of the thousands of job opportunities that currently exist at Wallops, almost half of them are employed with Maryland residents in the tech, research, and development job areas.”

Wallops Island is a regional driver for the future of technical and engineering programs on a national level. The facility is home to operations for not just NASA, where it serves as a space station supply hub, but for the U.S. Navy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and private-sector industries like Orbital ATK. Together, they create hundreds of jobs for residents of the Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland.

“As the unmanned aviation, private sector rocket launch research, meteorological studies, and technological advancement and development continue, there are more opportunities for tech jobs coming to the Lower Shore,” Mathias said.

Recent investments such as the University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s new Aviation Engineering building and the Worcester Technical High School’s new pre-engineering program put the students of Worcester, Wicomico, and Somerset counties in a great position to benefit from the growth of the aerospace industry in Maryland and the Eastern Shore, according to Mathias.