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“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 Antelope Valley 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."  George Whitesides’ campaign announcement

 

BACKGROUND + EXPERIENCE

George Whitesides announced his candidacy for Congress on November 22, 2023, after a long + distinguished career in space + aeronautics.

 

He served as NASA chief of staff + was the CEO of Virgin Galactic which he left in March 2021 while remaining in an advisory capacity to the public traded company. Whitesides was Chairman of the Reusable Launch Vehicle Working Group of COMSTAC, the advisory committee for the FAA's Commercial Space Transportation Division. He was a board member of Astronomers Without Borders the Space Generation Foundation + a coach for Zero Gravity Corporation's parabolic flight service. Whitesides was co-founde project lead of SciAccess Initiative's Mission: AstroAccess which made it possible for people with disabilities to partake in a ZERO-G parabolic flight. On December 15, 2022, its first formal research parabolic flight was flown, with 14 disability ambassadors from five countries in the mission.

 

Whitesides co-founded Megafire Action, the first organization dedicated to solving our nation’s megafire crisis. He also initiated Caltech’s Keck Institute workshop on “Detecting and Tracking Fires that Matter” in 2021 is an advisor to several philanthropic efforts working to make wildfire a manageable challenge through innovation + science policy.

Whitesides co-chaired the Antelope Valley Covid-19 Task Force, an ad hoc group that brought together NASA, industries, local government + Antelope Valley College to support front line nurses + doctors, for which he received NASA’s Exceptional Public Achievement Medal.

 

Whitesides serves as a board member of the Antelope Valley Economic Development + Growth Enterprise (AV EDGE), working to grow jobs + businesses in the AV.

 

He was awarded the Partners in Educational Excellence Award by the Antelope Valley Union High School District for his work supporting underprivileged students.

 

Whitesides attended Princeton University, graduating from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in 1996. Upon graduation he served for four years on Princeton's Board of Trustees. He later earned an MPhil in Geographical Information Systems and Remote Sensing from King's College, Cambridge. He was a Fulbright Scholar in Tunisia.

 

Whitesides is 50 years old, is married + has two children.

 

POLITICS IN CALIFORNIA

In deep blue California, Whiteside’s opponent, incumbent Mike Garcia, flipped the formerly Democratic CA-27 in a special election in May 2020. He was reelected in ‘20 + ‘22.

 

California’s Governor + both Senators are Democrats as are 40 of its 52 Representatives. A high-profile, three-way primary for the Senate seat vacated by the death of Dianne Feinstein is scheduled for March 5th. 

 

Biden won CA-27 by 12.4 points in 2020 + Mike Garcia won the seat in ‘22 by 5.5 points. CA-27 is the only Republican-held Congressional district that includes portions of the city of Los Angeles, making it an expensive media market.

 

Whitesides has been widely endorsed including the California Congressional Delegation, Democratic party Leadership (Nancy Pelosi + Katherine Clark), Democratic State officials, many unions (CA Labor Federation, SEIU, AFL-CIO, Carpenters, Teachers Union, NUHW, ILWU + civic organization (LCV, Asian Dems, etc.)

ISSUES
In Congress, Whitesides will be committed to creating great jobs in the district, finding solutions to the wildfire crisis, protecting reproductive freedom, Social Security + Medicare.

ENDORSEMENTS

International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers 

SEIU California State Council 

314 Action Fund 

California Environmental Voters 

League of Conservation Voters 

New Democrat Coalition Action Fund

Stonewall Democratic Club 

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