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Congressman Lankford Meets With Aerospace Officials in Midwest City to Hear Concerns

Congressman James Lankford, back for a short stay in Oklahoma City before heading back to Washington, D.C., met with nearly 50 people from various Oklahoma aerospace companies during at tenant coffee Oct. 17 at the Tinker Business and Industrial Park in Midwest City.

Lankford, who is a freshman legislator in the U.S. House and one of just a handful of new lawmakers chairing subcommittees, provided a brief update on current issues pertaining to aerospace and defense such as the the national deficit, defense spending and FAA reauthorization.

Following Lankford's briefing, attendees had the opportunity to share their concerns with the congressman, particularly issues regarding contracting with the Department of Defense and creating a better-skilled workforce for the aerospace industry.

Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission Director Victor Bird expressed his gratitude for Lankford's support of the state's aviation and aerospace industry. He encouraged Lankford and his colleagues in the House and Senate to pass a clean FAA reauthorization bill soon so that the state's airports can plan infrastructure improvement projects and finish them in a timely manner.

Bird also lauded the success of the Center for Aerospace Supplier Quality (CASQ), a program of the Aeronautics Commission that helps small Oklahoma aerospace companies compete more effectively for contracts with DoD and prime contractors such as Boeing and Northrop Grumman. He noted that a similar program in the Northeast has received a federal earmark for years, unlike CASQ which has been supported financially for several years through partnerships with other state agencies and entities.

CASQ has helped Oklahoma companies garner close to 300 contracts valued at nearly $27 million from DoD and its prime contractors, Bird said.

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Bird -Lankford Photo
Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission Director Victor Bird, right, has a chat with Oklahoma Congressman James Lankford following an Oct. 17 meeting with aerospace representatives at the Tinker Business and Industrial Park in Midwest City.