The retirement of Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN), the outgoing chairman of the House Science and Technology Committee, creates a vacancy in the Democratic leadership of the committee. Yesterday one member, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), formally declared her interest in being ranking member of the committee in the new Congress. “I would fight to ensure that our aviation industry and, NASA specifically, remains strong, and able to undertake each and every new mission that draws them further away from our planet and into depths of scientific discovery,” she said as part of her statement of interest in the position. Her announcement came the same day as another member, Rep. Jerry Costello (D-IL), said he was not interested in being ranking member, preferring to focus his attention on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
On the newly-majority Republican side, current ranking member Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX) has already shown an interest in the committee chairmanship. However, two other members are reportedly interested in the post: Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI). Recall that Sensenbrenner served as chairman of the science committee from 1997-2001, and under House GOP rules would have two more years of eligibility as committee chairman.