CONGRESSMAN MORELLE ANNOUNCES CREATION OF CONGRESSIONAL OPTICS & PHOTONICS CAUCUS

This bipartisan, bicameral caucus will promote and advance the optics and photonics
industry

February 24, 2021 (Washington, D.C.) – Today, Congressman Joe Morelle announced
the creation of the Congressional Optics & Photonics Caucus to promote and advance
the use of light-based technologies that are already impacting our world every day. Rep.
Morelle co-founded the caucus with Rep. Brian Mast (FL-18), Senator Steve Daines
(MT) and Senator Kyrsten Sinema (AZ).

“The bipartisan, bicameral caucus we are announcing today is the result of a multi-year
effort to increase awareness of how optics and photonics work to maintain the U.S.
position as a leader in global innovation,” Congressman Joe Morelle said. “Our world
is shifting to a knowledge-based economy that rewards those nations who invest in
innovation and are at the forefront of emerging technologies. And the reward is what our
nation needs most right now: a boost in our economy and the creation of stable, highpaying jobs.”
“The optics and photonics industry helps Americans in countless ways, from keeping
our country safe to allowing us to communicate with one another to providing innovative
healthcare,” said Congressman Brian Mast. “The U.S. leads the world in the research
and development of optics and photonics technology, and I’m excited to join with my
colleagues in the House and Senate to support the industry’s growth and innovation.”
“I’m glad to serve as Senate co-chair of the Optics and Photonics Caucus alongside
Senator Sinema, and look forward to continuing our work to advocate for the next
generation of American innovation and technology,” said Senator Steve Daines.
“Promoting these innovative solutions will not only help America overcome great
challenges, but will also provide high-paying jobs across the country.”

“Our bipartisan Congressional Optics and Photonics Caucus creates partnerships
boosting Arizona’s economy by helping Arizona universities and businesses continue
innovating,” said Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema.

The foundation for this industry has already been laid, and in fact, is currently shaping
how we communicate, energize our grids, administer healthcare, and enhance our
national security.

By harnessing the power of light, the optics and photonics industry offers solutions that
are more efficient and cost effective than other existing technology today. What’s more,
the industry is in high demand, offering pathways to employment for Americans as we
begin to rebuild and revitalize our economy in the wake of COVID-19.

Among the goals of the Optics & Photonics caucus are:
• To promote and advance the use of light-based technologies through public and
private investments and secure the United States’ status as a global leader in
innovation;
• To break down the siloed knowledge surrounding this robust industry, educating
lawmakers, workers, and students of all this industry has to offer and setting
future generations up succeed.

“Employers from around the world frequently contact Monroe Community College
(Rochester, N.Y.) looking for their ‘future photon workforce’—highly skilled technicians
who are trained to produce innovative light-enabled products. There are thousands of
job openings in optics, photonics, and imaging worldwide,” said Alexis Vogt, Ph.D.,
MCC program chair and professor of optical systems technology. “As the only college in
the nation awarding associate degrees in precision optics, MCC educates and trains a
finite number of skilled optics technicians each year. We are eager to help other
communities across the nation develop their workforce for these highly skilled, well-paid
jobs.”

“The National Photonics Initiative strongly supports the formation of the Congressional
Optics & Photonics Caucus and applauds the efforts of Representatives Morelle and
Mast and Senators Sinema and Daines for their leadership as Chairs,” said Ed White,
chairman of the National Photonics Initiative. “This Caucus will serve as a valuable tool
for members and staff seeking to learn more about the dynamic possibilities of optics
and photonics. It will also give our community a stronger voice in Congress as we work
to educate policymakers on the many ways optics and photonics can be used to
confront challenges ranging from health care delivery to agriculture to infrastructure
development. We look forward to working with the Caucus members in their effort to
increase the federal use of optics and photonics applications on issues of importance to
the U.S.”

“When you look carefully at many of the innovations we support, what you’ll find “under
the hood” are advanced optics and photonics technologies powering and enabling a
wide range of cutting-edge methods, discoveries, and devices,” said Dr. Bruce
Tromberg, director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Engineering at
the National Institute of Health. “It’s exciting to be part of this growing, interdisciplinary,
community of innovators, working together to achieve our vision: Engineering the Future
of Health for all Americans.”

“Manufacturing and precision optics is a prestigious and exciting opportunity for today’s
and tomorrow’s workforce—we are excited to partner with the precision optics
community to expanding the precision optics development pipelines,” said Dr. Adele
Ratcliff, director of Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment at the Defense Office of
Industrial Policy.

 

Original Release Sources:

Dana Vernetti | 585-820-4684 | dana.vernetti@mail.house.gov
Joe Leathersich | 585-317-0467 | joseph.leathersich@mail.house.gov

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New York Photonics is a not-for-profit organization founded to promote and enhance the New York State optics, photonics and imaging industry by fostering the cooperation of business, academia and government.

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