Nearly six years in the making, the recent licensing approval of the nation’s first inland spaceport at Burns Flat is representative of the sort of forward-thinking approach necessary to move the Oklahoma economy forward, Sen. Cal Hobson said on Friday.
Hobson said years of hard work by Sen. Gilmer Capps, former state Rep. Jack Bonny and other legislative leaders has laid the foundation for the rapid expansion of the Oklahoma aerospace industry.
“Senator Capps and Representative Bonny should be commended for their efforts to enhance Oklahoma’s aerospace industry,” said Hobson, D-Lexington. “I was happy to fill a secondary role in working together with Sen. Capps in support of making Oklahoma a leader in the commercial aerospace industry.”
Capps said Hobson provided unwavering support and leadership in helping achieve the goal of establishing a working spaceport.
“From the start, Senator Hobson appreciated our vision and gave us the support we needed to make this idea a reality,” said Capps, D-Snyder. “We could not have accomplished what we have if not for the courage and assistance of legislative leaders like Cal Hobson.”
Hobson said the state must continue to think toward the future in an effort to diversify the economy, attract industry and create jobs. Upgrading Oklahoma’s airports and aerospace facilities, Hobson noted, will make the state a more attractive and accessible place for business.
Oklahoma’s aerospace industry now employs more than 42,000 people and consists of more than 130 separate business entities. Having grown by approximately 20 percent in the past three years, a significant percentage of Oklahoma aerospace employees are involved in critical functions such as national security and aircraft parts manufacturing.
“Aerospace firms are a major business sector in their own right, while improving our regional business airports is a necessity as we encourage economic growth in Oklahoma,” Hobson said. “Expanding the working relationships between the public sector and the aerospace industry should continue to be a priority for lawmakers.”