To watch Senator Capito’s questioning, click here or the image above.  

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) questioned Governor Gina Raimondo, the nominee for Secretary of the United States Department of Commerce, during today’s nomination hearing in the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.

Today’s hearing follows a recent meeting Senator Capito had with Governor Raimondo, where the two discussed a number of issues important to West Virginia and the economic future of the country. During today’s hearing, Senator Capito expressed the importance of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) facility in Fairmont and received important commitments from Governor Raimondo on the efficiency of the Economic Development Administration (EDA), as well as the future of broadband mapping.


: “I do have a question, in terms of the President’s proposed stimulus. It recommends an additional $3 billion for the EDA, and I value and respect the focus for that. But, I have great concerns about an agency that has an annual budget of $330 million to be able to absorb, not just the $3 billion he is proposing, but also the $1.5 billion we put in [the EDA] with the CARES Act. How would you propose [the EDA] be able to meet that capacity? It’s a challenge I think the EDA would have to make sure that the money is being spent, not thrown out, but making sure that it’s targeted, well spent, and efficiently spent.”

: “We’ve talked about broadband—and your state has more urban broadband issues—we have a lot of rural, and certainly this committee has done a lot of work in this. But, one of the areas we’ve really fallen short is on the mapping situation. Who really is served? To what degree are they served? What can we do to more accurately deploy the federal resources to those who it’s intended for, the unserved and underserved? So, I would just encourage you…you can’t just rely on the providers to tell you where they are serving, or just one state entity or federal entity. I think you need an all-hands-on-deck approach. I know this is important for you and for your state. Do you have any other perspective on how we can get to that broadband mapping accurately when we see the urgency the pandemic has brought for broadband deployment?”

“Lastly, I’ll mention to you our National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) facility that we’re very proud of in Fairmont. They do a lot of supercomputing there. We also have the Enterprise Security Operation Center that does a lot of cybersecurity. You can imagine a lot of the data that’s collected, as the satellite sphere is very important to our national security, but also to our homeland security in terms of protecting life and property, and being able to predict, front-run certain kinds of weather disasters and other things. I invite you to come to Fairmont upon your confirmation, to see the NOAA facility and to see where the great folks in Fairmont could be more helpful and use that expertise they combine with educational centers to be able to enlarge their presence.”


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