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Upton & Dingell Re-Introduce Legislation Championing STEM Education

Bipartisan bill would support FIRST Robotics

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Washington, January 16, 2019 | Joan Hillebrands (202-225-3761) | comments

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, and U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Michigan, recently re-introduced bipartisan legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives that champions the STEM education program FIRST Robotics. H.R. 500, the Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act of 2019, would mint a $1 coin in honor of Christa McAuliffe, the teacher and astronaut who perished in the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, and support the FIRST Robotics program.

Dean Kamen, founder of FIRST, with some original cosponsors of the bill

“Michigan has the most FIRST Robotics teams in the country. Students on these teams learn valuable skills and will grow up to become inventors, teachers, engineers, and community leaders,” said Upton. “A few might even follow in the footsteps of Christa McAuliffe and become astronauts whose vision extends beyond our world. By launching students into STEM fields and careers, FIRST is helping to inspire the next generation of leaders that will conquer new frontiers. I’ve always been a proud supporter of STEM and FIRST Robotics and look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get this legislation done.”

“Attending FIRST Robotics competitions is one of my favorite activities – even more than football or basketball games. The students are engaged, bright, energetic, and getting hands-on experience with cutting-edge technology,” said Dingell. “They are graduating at higher rates and are more likely to pursue careers in science and engineering, where they will help tackle some of our most pressing future challenges. We need to encourage this talent and creativity. This coin is a pathway to support these efforts and I am proud to work with Congressman Upton to encourage young people to be at the forefront of innovation and technology.”

FIRST Robotics is the nation’s leading not-for-profit STEM education program established by inventor Dean Kamen. Once the money is recoupled by the U.S. Treasury for the cost of minting the commemorative coin, all of the profits would go to support FIRST Robotics.

Upton and Dingell are joined by original co-sponsors Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Rep. John Katko (R-NY), Rep. Ann Kuster (D-NH), Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH), and Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY).

Upton and Dingell had previously introduced the bipartisan legislation in the 115th Congress.

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