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Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster

Representing the 2nd District of New Hampshire

ICYMI: Kuster and Pappas Applaud Passage of Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act in the House

Sep 20, 2019
Press Release

Congresswoman Kuster Speaking about the Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act. Watch here.

Washington, D.C. – This week, Representatives Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Chris Pappas (NH-01) applauded the passage of the bipartisan Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act of 2019, which they introduced alongside Congressman Fred Upton (MI-06). This legislation passed the House on Thursday, September 19, and will create a commemorative coin to honor Christa McAuliffe and reaffirm Congress’ commitment to invest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education. The Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin is a $1 coin honoring the Concord educator who died aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986, with proceeds going toward the FIRST Robotics program, which was founded by Manchester-based inventor Dean Kamen and seeks to inspire young people to pursue an education in the STEM field.

“Christa McAuliffe touched the lives of so many in New Hampshire and she continues to inspire students nationwide,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “Granite Staters will never forget her intelligence, charm, and kindness towards those around her. This coin will forever be a powerful testament to her enduring legacy, and it will further cement her place in American history for generations to come.”

“Christa McAuliffe was a dedicated high school social studies teacher who understood how history is defined by ordinary people doing extraordinary things. She dared to touch the future as a teacher and an astronaut,” said Congressman Pappas on the House floor. “The creation of this commemorative coin is one way we can honor her--and all our educators--for opening doors of opportunity and challenging students to succeed.”

“I could not be more excited about all of the bi-partisan support that led to the passage of this Bill. As part of the FIRST Community, we are inspired to advocate for wider recognition of our nation’s STEM heroes and leaders,” said Dean Kamen, Founder of FIRST Robotics. “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. I am extremely grateful to everyone who helped pass this legislation and am excited that FIRST students will benefit as a result.”

The Senate version of the Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act passed the Senate in July of this year after being introduced by Senator Jeanne Shaheen. The bill will now go to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

Watch Rep. Kuster speak on the House floor about the legislation here or read her full remarks below:

I’m thrilled today to rise in favor of the Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act.

Christa McAuliffe was a teacher at Concord High School, my alma mater.

Christa was a smart, charming, and kind teacher who left her mark on countless students through her willingness to do whatever it took to help them succeed.

The Concord, and broader New Hampshire community, was thrilled when she, out of 11,000 applicants, was selected as NASA’s first teacher in space.

Her mission was to inspire a generation of American students to look towards the sky and pursue careers in science.

Tragically, on January 28, 1986, Christa, along with the six other members of the Challenger Space Shuttle crew, perished when the shuttle exploded.

Christa wanted her students to seek out the best in themselves, and always reach a little higher.

Inspired by Christa’s leadership, her students did just that by going on to become teachers or pursue other careers in science and education.

Christa’s legacy can be seen all over the State of New Hampshire, including the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center and Christa McAuliffe Middle School in Concord.

I’m proud that this coin will help cement her place in American history for generations to come.

It is fitting that the proceeds from the coin’s sales will support FIRST Robotics, a nationwide leader in STEM education that helps fulfill Christa’s legacy by helping students discover the wonders of the world through education.  

I was proud to work with my colleagues and friends: Fred Upton, Debbie Dingell, and Chris Pappas to help secure the cosponsors needed to pass this bill.

I also appreciate Leader Hoyer’s willingness to move this bill and honor Christa.

I urge my colleagues to vote for this legislation and yield back the balance of my time.

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