Wings of Liberty 2015
Remarks by David F. Melcher
Good afternoon. And welcome to a highlight of National Aerospace Week, AIA’s tribute to our 2015 Wings of Liberty Awardees. For those of you new to this event, Wings of Liberty is our industry’s highest award given to a member or members of Congress who have made significant contributions to the strength of our industry. Starting off, I’d like to thank Honeywell’s Vice President for Global Government Relations Rick Graber and the entire Honeywell team for graciously hosting us.
Today, we’re delighted to honor two true champions of our nation’s leadership in aerospace and defense, Senator Patty Murray of Washington, and Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas.
Today is special for this and a related reason steeped in our nation’s history. We’re gathered at Honeywell, fittingly located on Constitution Avenue, on our nation’s Constitution Day, recalling how 228 years ago, 39 founding fathers including Franklin, Hamilton, Madison, and Washington signed the historic document that declares the supreme law of the United States.
Some folks often overlook that providing for the common defense and promoting the general welfare are the bedrock purposes of government. And we can’t meet the founders’ intentions without leaders the caliber of these two senators to translate these purposes into action.
A prime example of that leadership was The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 which Senator Murray and Representative Paul Ryan successfully negotiated. This was significant for two important reasons.
First, it gave meaningful, two year budget relief for the people who work day and night providing for our common defense, and for the other functions of government like NASA, NOAA, and the FAA, that contribute to our well being and public safety.
The second reason to laud Senator Murray is this agreement was the product of genuine bipartisan give-and-take. Seventy years ago, Michigan’s Senator Arthur Vandenberg, the Republican Foreign Relations Committee leader, famously stated, “We must stop partisan politics at the water’s edge.” Today, you could build a dam as big as the Grand Coulee and the partisanship that poisons our political discourse would flood over its spillways. To her credit Senator Murray is helping to bridge that divide.
Let me turn to Senator Moran. While this is just his first term in the Senate, he’s already demonstrated that the citizens of Kansas chose wisely in selecting the person who would fill the seat once held by Bob Dole. While a member of Congress he’s traveled to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan to visit deployed American forces and meet with foreign leaders. He currently serves on the Air Force Academy’s Board of Visitors. And in taking over the co-chairmanship of the Senate Aerospace Caucus, he rightly noted, “Safeguarding our nation for future generations means both a strong national defense and a strong economy. The aerospace industry is where these two priorities converge.”
Indeed, we appreciate both Senator Moran’s and Murray’s enthusiastic support of the Senate Aerospace Caucus. Through the Caucus we’ve been able to engage your fellow Senators and Senate staff about our workforce development efforts and exciting technological developments. For example, through their leadership and the hands-on activism of their key staffers Caroline Prosch and Adam Goodwin, this summer we held a standing room only event on Unmanned Aerial Systems. At the event, Amazon detailed their package delivery dreams and the Atlas All-Terrain Land and Air Sphere flew inside a packed Senate caucus room.
It’s also worth mentioning that both of these distinguished Senators have voted to support the continued operations of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, a key priority of our industry.
It’s now my pleasure to ask AIA Board Vice Chairman Marillyn Hewson, the CEO, President and Board Chairman of Lockheed Martin to give brief remarks and join me for the award presentation.
Remarks by Marillyn Hewson
Thank you, David and good afternoon everyone. AIA Chairman David Joyce was disappointed that he was not able to be here… however he asked that I extend his best wishes with all of you and his congratulations to our honorees.
I’m delighted to be here with you today, particularly during National Aerospace Week. This is a wonderful opportunity for our industry—and its supporters—to recognize the enormous contribution that aerospace makes to America’s economy, competitiveness and national security.
And speaking of supporters, Senator Murray and Senator Moran, let me add my sincere appreciation for all that you do on behalf of the aerospace community. Your willingness to tackle the most complex issues and advocate on our behalf in Congress is all the more crucial today—particularly as we head into another challenging budget cycle.
Your efforts on the Senate Aerospace Caucus have been of vital importance in making sure that the American aerospace industry remains strong, secure, and globally competitive.
As long as we have leaders like you… leaders who are committed to the security of our country and to the strength of our industry … we have every reason to be optimistic about the future of both. Senator Murray… Senator Moran… Congratulations on your well-deserved Wings of Liberty Awards. We look forward to your continued leadership… and thank you for all that you do for our nation. Congratulations!