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Upton issues statement after U.S. House passes Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act of 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, today issued the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed S. 239, the Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act of 2019, sponsored by U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). Upton introduced the House-version of the bill in January as H.R. 500 with more than 300 cosponsors.

The Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act of 2019 will mint a $1 silver 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.

“This legislation will provide a big boost for our FIRST Robotics programs – not only in Michigan but across the country. That means more resources and more opportunities for students to develop critical skills for STEM fields and careers,” Upton said. “Michigan has more FIRST Robotics teams than any other state in the nation, and many of the students who are part of those teams have been inspired in part by the legacy left behind by Christa McAuliffe. I’m so proud we were able to get this bill that continues to encourage STEM education and FIRST Robotics to the President’s desk.”

“As part of the FIRST Community, we are inspired to advocate for wider recognition of our nation’s STEM heroes. This commemorative coin will honor Christa McAuliffe’s legacy not just by celebrating her life and service, but by designating additional funds to a program with a proven track record of inspiring young people to pursue science and technology,” said Dean Kamen, founder of FIRST. “I am extremely grateful to everyone who helped pass this legislation and am excited that FIRST students will benefit as a result.”

FIRST Robotics is the nation’s leading not-for-profit STEM education program. For over thirty years, FIRST has a record of launching program participants into STEM fields at a time when U.S. employers struggle to fill well-paying STEM jobs. According to studies conducted by the organization, over 75% of FIRST students find themselves in a STEM field as a student or professional after graduating high school.

The U.S. Treasury will mint the coin in 2021, marking the 35th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Challenger tragedy. Once the money is recouped by the Treasury for the cost of minting the commemorative coin, the profits would go to support FIRST Robotics.

The bill passed the U.S. Senate in July. It will now go to the President’s desk for his signature.

Click here to learn more about the Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act of 2019.


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