Military space advocate Rep. Jim Cooper to retire from Congress
WASHINGTON — Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee’s subcommittee on strategic forces, announced Jan. 25 that he will not run for re-election in November.
Cooper’s decision was expected as his current district in Nashville was redrawn by the state legislature and his seat is likely to be won by a Republican candidate. Cooper has been in office for 32 years.
“I explored every possible way, including lawsuits, to stop the gerrymandering and to win one of the three new congressional districts that now divide Nashville. There’s no way, at least for me in this election cycle,” he said in a statement.
A long-time advocate of military space programs, Cooper and fellow HASC member Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) were the original proponents of establishing a military space branch before former president Donald Trump embraced the idea.
Without the advocacy from Rogers and Cooper, there would likely have not been enough support in Congress to pass the legislation that created the U.S. Space Force.
Cooper over that past two years also has been harshly critical of the Space Force for the slow pace of its acquisition programs and for not taking bold steps to innovate space systems.