Claremore Daily Progress

Columnists

June 21, 2011

Aerospace in Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma has a long-time vested interest in aerospace.  We had a presence in the skies early on with Wiley Post, an Oklahoma pilot who became the first to fly solo around the world.   We also had a presence in space with Thomas P. Stafford-a native Oklahoman turned astronaut who was aboard space flights and served as commander of Apollo 10, which made the moon landing possible.

Oklahoma’s commitment to aerospace continues.  The aerospace industry is Oklahoma’s number one exporter, shipping aerospace components to several countries around the world.  It is one of our top employers, providing jobs for one out of every eleven Oklahomans. 

The industry has a $12.5 billion economic impact, nearly 10 percent of the state’s total output.  Oklahoma is also home to the largest military and commercial aircraft repair facilities in the world: Tinker Air Force Base and the AA Maintenance and Engineering Center in Tulsa.  Additionally, almost 5,000 Oklahomans are employed at the FAA’s Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center in Oklahoma City, which functions as the hub for our nation’s air transportation system. We continue to prove that the aerospace industry can flourish in our state. The Legislature aided in providing an aerospace friendly climate, restoring the Aerospace Engineer Workforce and Recruitment Tax Credit that previously expired. 

During the one year the tax credit was active, it created an over $270 million economic impact, providing jobs for 348 new engineers.  Restoration of this tax credit is an important step that illustrates Oklahoma is open for business and focused on the aerospace industry.

As Oklahoma’s Lt. Governor, I am actively engaged in promoting our state’s aerospace industry.  This past March, the membership of the Aerospace States Association (ASA) voted to elect me as a Vice-Chair of the Association.  The ASA exists to support aerospace industry and aviation in America based on the belief that a strong aerospace industry equals a strong economy and a strong America. 

The opportunity to serve in this capacity has been an honor.  It has also provided an essential opportunity to support the aerospace industry in Oklahoma.  I am thankful to be partnering with ASA on behalf of our great state.

Most recently I participated in the 2011 Oklahoma Aerospace Summit.  I had the honor of awarding various aerospace grants to teachers and schools across the state that are committed to instilling in Oklahoma students, the fundamentals of aerospace and how they can share a part of history and move our state forward.

Because aerospace does so much to boost Oklahoma’s economy, we must work together to continue bringing this industry up to its full potential.  We can’t stop where we are. We must push forward to expand the horizons of aerospace and its benefits to our great state.

As always, my office is open and ready to answer any questions. Also feel free to visit our website at www.ok.gov/ltgovernor or call our office at 405.521.2161.

Todd Lamb Lt. Gov. of Oklahoma.

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