For the 23rd year, the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership and the Citizens for Space Exploration journeyed to Washington, D.C., to advocate for manned space exploration. 

The trip lasted from Tuesday until Thursday, and advocates met with members of Congress to discuss the importance of space travel. 

Bob Mitchell, president of BAHEP, said there were more than 350 office visits, 10 more than last year.  

“Those are scheduled, sit-down visits,” said Mitchell, who made his 15th trip. “They’re not walk-ins or walk-bys, but 350 actual scheduled sit-down visits.”

League City Mayor Tim Paulissen accompanied representatives of the two organizations for his second time. 

“When we came up here last year, we were trying to promote the continuation of funding for NASA and to extend operational life of the space station,” he said. “Both of those have been accomplished.

“What we’re most concerned with now is the national security with Russia and our current state of dependence on them for a ride back to our own space station.”

The issue with Russia was one of this year’s main talking points, Mitchell said. 

“Every year, we change our talking points,” he said. 

“This year, we focused more on the need for commercial, crew-manned exploration and the International Space Station.”

The 110 travelers were divided into teams that visited offices. Paulissen said the teams consisted of one or two business people and a student.

“League City has a lot of residents that work for NASA, and while we’ve lost our share, we want to make sure our legislators know the importance of our jobs and NASA,” he said. 

Paulissen and his team visited 11 offices in the two days, all of which were of Texas congressional officers. 

“We have kind of been speaking to the choir,” he said. 

“We’re going to all Texas representatives, so they are already positive about NASA and want funding.”

Joe Mayer, chairman of Citizens for Space Exploration, and Brian Freedman, chairman of the trip, said overall, congressional reactions had been positive.

“The International Space Station remains a vital tool for research in the eyes of Congress,” they said in an email. “There is support for a continued national program that will move us in the direction of deep space exploration.”

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