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Foster, Luján Lead Bipartisan National Labs Caucus Congressional Delegation to New Mexico

Jul 29, 2019
Press Release

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. – This week, Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL) and U.S. House of Representatives Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) will lead a bipartisan congressional delegation on a tour of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, and White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. Foster and Luján will be joined by Congresswoman Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), Congresswoman Xochitl Torres Small (D-N.M.), and Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE). Also attending will be the Department of Energy’s Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and NNSA Administrator Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty.

As co-chairs of the National Labs Caucus in the 116th Congress, Congressmen Foster and Luján are committed to raising awareness about the importance of America’s 17 national laboratories for economic growth, national security, and U.S. leadership in scientific and technological innovation. This is the first congressional delegation trip of the National Labs Caucus. In addition to Congressmen Foster and Luján, the House National Labs Caucus is co-chaired by Congressmen Chuck Fleischmann and Lee Zeldin.

The tour will include site visits to:

  • Los Alamos National Laboratory – a leading national security science laboratory
  • Sandia National Laboratories – the nation’s premier science and engineering laboratory, responsible for research and development in nuclear deterrence, including the non-nuclear components of nuclear weapons, global security and defense and energy technologies
  • White Sands Missile Range – the largest military installation in the United States and the site of operations testing for anti-missile systems and directed energy research.
  • Trinity Test Site – the location of the first atomic bomb detonation on July 16, 1945.

“As the only PhD physicist in Congress and an employee of a Department of Energy national laboratory for over 20 years, I know the important work that our national labs perform every day to advance science and innovation in the United States,” Foster said. “I am proud to join my colleagues to get a firsthand look at Los Alamos, Sandia, and White Sands and meet with the men and women who do vital work here every day that keeps our country safer. If we are serious about maintaining America’s national security and leadership in scientific discovery, we need to make significant and stable investments in the world-leading scientific infrastructure that is in use every day at our national labs, including here in New Mexico.”

“In New Mexico, National Laboratories are an integral part of our communities, economy, and security, and I’m proud to show my colleagues the important research, development, and scientific work. Los Alamos and Sandia labs contribute to our nation. Visits like this one will ensure that everyone in Congress better understands the vital role that our labs play through their scientific discovery and innovation,” said Luján.

“Our national labs in New Mexico are at the forefront of innovation while playing a major role as job creators and economic drivers. I’m looking forward to sharing their incredible work and showcasing the brilliant minds that are hard at work on new technology that supports renewable energy, enhances our national security, and spurs job creation,” said Haaland.

“New Mexico’s national laboratories are cornerstones of scientific innovation and critical to our national security. The work of Sandia and Los Alamos National Labs advance technology that keep our country’s competitive edge on both of those fronts. None of which would be possible without the ability to test their latest designs right here in New Mexico’s Second Congressional District at White Sands, an area I am proud to represent.  As always, I remain eager to showcase the contributions of the hardworking men and women stationed there,” said Torres Small.

“As co-chair of the Nuclear Security Working Group and the Member of Congress representing the Defense Department’s U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), I work to keep the U.S. the world leader in both nuclear deterrence and in reducing the risk of nuclear exchanges, nuclear accidents, and theft of nuclear material. By visiting these sites so integral to our nation’s security, I will gain greater insights into improving capabilities and limiting threats in order to keep Americans safe from the unthinkable,” said Fortenberry.

“The Department of Energy and NNSA appreciate Congress’ steadfast support of the National Labs,” said Gordon-Hagerty. “Los Alamos and Sandia are world-class scientific institutions that have played a pivotal role in American security and prosperity for decades. The nation needs to continue to invest in them to strengthen our national security and drive innovation and economic growth.”

Congressman Foster represents Argonne National Laboratory as part of the 11th Congressional District of Illinois. Prior to serving in Congress, he spent 23 years as a high energy particle physicist at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, IL. He was part of the team that discovered the top quark, the heaviest known form of matter.