President Donald Trump has nominated U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Oklahoma, to be the top administrator at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
The timetable for Bridenstine leaving the U.S. House is contingent on his confirmation before the U.S. Senate. If Bridenstine leaves office before January 1, there will be a special election to fill his vacancy. If he leaves after January 1, the office will be open until the 2018 November general election.
Five Republicans have already been running for First District, whether it is this year or next. Bridenstine was elected in 2012 and pledged to only serve three terms.
The announced candidates are State Sen. Nathan Dahm; former Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris; attorney Andy Coleman; Brookside Baptist Pastor Danny Stockstill and Tulsa businessman Kevin Hern.
Bridenstine serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the Science, Space and Technology Committee. Bridenstine began his Naval aviation career flying the E-2C Hawkeye off the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier. It was there that he flew combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
While on active duty, he transitioned to the F-18 Hornet and flew as an “aggressor” at the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center. After leaving active duty, Bridenstine returned to Tulsa to be the executive director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium and flew counter-drug missions in Central and South America in the Navy Reserve.
Bridenstine holds a triple major from Rice University and an M.B.A. from Cornell University. Bridenstine is currently a member of the 137th Special Operations Wing of the Oklahoma Air National Guard.
“I am pleased President Trump has announced his intent to name Jim Bridenstine as NASA Administrator,” said U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahhoma. “As the former administrator of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum and Planetarium, Jim Bridenstine’s lifelong passion for space, combined with his work in Congress on modernizing our nation’s space program will serve him well at NASA. I look forward to working with my fellow Oklahoman in this new capacity.”
“Rep. Jim Bridenstine has served his nation as a Navy pilot and as a U.S. representative specializing in satellite innovation. His background in aviation and space, coupled with his commitment to fiscal responsibility, make him an excellent choice for NASA administrator,” said U.S. Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma.