Science and Exploration

Aerospace and Wildfire Leader George Whitesides Announces Campaign to Take On CA-27’s Congressman Garcia

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
George Whitesides
February 22, 2023
Filed under
Aerospace and Wildfire Leader George Whitesides Announces Campaign to Take On CA-27’s Congressman Garcia
George Whitesides

Whitesides Created over 700 Jobs in the Antelope Valley
Local Leaders Assemblymember Juan Carrillo, Assistant Majority Whip Pilar Schiavo, former Assemblymember Christy Smith Endorse Whitesides

AGUA DULCE – Today, former NASA Chief of Staff and Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides announced his candidacy for Congress in California’s 27th congressional district. Whitesides served as Virgin Galactic’s first CEO, and in his ten years in that role, created over 700 jobs in the Antelope Valley. Whitesides also co-founded Megafire Action, an advocacy and policy organization that seeks to support solutions for the megafire crisis, and helped lead an effort to support frontline medical workers during the pandemic. Whitesides released the following statement:

“In the Antelope Valley, we are used to dreaming – and doing – big things. It is the cradle of aerospace innovation: over the Mojave Desert, we broke the sound barrier and sent the first private spaceship to space; at Air Force Plant 42, we have built the air and space vehicles that define American greatness.

“This is not the time for timid leadership. We need leaders who believe in doing big things – like creating the jobs and companies of the future from the AV to Santa Clarita. Leaders who believe that by working together, we can solve the wildfire crisis, build affordable housing, and protect Social Security and Medicare.

“Congress isn’t doing enough to help people in our part of California, and Congressman Garcia has become part of the problem. He supports taking away a woman’s right to make her own healthcare decisions, and plays politics instead of focusing on the issues that matter and finding solutions to our biggest challenges.

“I’m running for Congress because I believe that our community has built an incredible legacy, and our best days are ahead of us. We can do big things, and we need leaders who know how to get them done. I’m proud to announce my campaign for California’s 27th congressional district.”

Whitesides served as Chief of Staff at NASA during the Obama Administration. Upon departure from the agency, Whitesides was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, NASA’s highest honor. In 2022, he received NASA’s Exceptional Public Achievement Medal for his work supporting frontline medical workers.

Under George’s leadership, Virgin Galactic flew the first human spaceflight from US soil since the retirement of the Space Shuttle and flew the first woman to space on a commercial space vehicle.

Whitesides has already earned the support of the most prominent Democratic leaders in the district, which encompasses northern Los Angeles County, from the southern Antelope Valley to Santa Clarita.

“George Whitesides has shown tremendous leadership in the Antelope Valley. Under his leadership, hundreds of high quality jobs with good healthcare were created in our region. These jobs bolstered our local economy. He worked with local educational institutions to help dozens of people without college degrees get good-paying jobs at his company. We need more leaders like George in Congress,” said Assemblymember Juan Carrillo, who represents parts of Lancaster and Palmdale.

“I’m proud to endorse George Whitesides,” said Assistant Majority Whip Pilar Schiavo, whose district includes Santa Clarita. “George has already accomplished big things in the region – from leading the Antelope Valley Covid Task Force to support frontline workers at the start of the pandemic, to helping find innovative solutions to reduce the intense wildfires that threaten our community. George is someone capable of implementing bold solutions to the biggest challenges we face.”

“I’m proud to support George Whitesides in this race because he has a track record of delivering results for people in our community. Congressman Garcia isn’t getting the job done. Garcia signed on to the plan to gut Social Security and Medicare and voted against lowering the price of prescription drugs, against lower gas prices, against the bipartisan plan to build more roads & bridges here at home. He has opposed sensible gun violence laws and a woman’s right to choose,” said former Assemblymember and CA-27 Democratic nominee Christy Smith.

California’s 27th Congressional District is one of the most competitive in the nation. President Biden won this seat by 12.4%, the third highest margin of any district in America currently represented by a Republican. Congressman Garcia still voted to overturn the results of the 2020 election. You can learn more about the campaign at

[email protected]

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.