NO.republicanleadership2.011.012019.jpg

U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham, R-Alto, speaks during a forum on healthcare during the Southern Republican Leadership Conference Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019, at the Pontchartrain Convention and Civic Center in Kenner.

U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham has an idea for President Donald Trump: Put the new Space Command in Louisiana.

Abraham, R-Alto, penned a letter to the White House on Tuesday making the case for Louisiana to become the headquarters for what will eventually become the "Space Force" branch of the military, beginning as an arm of the Air Force, to oversee the country's operations in space.

Officials have estimated the headquarters project at about $800 million over five years.

"Louisiana is an ideal location for the future headquarters of Space Command as our state already has strong existing relationships with both the military and NASA," Abraham wrote. "Should you select Louisiana as the headquarters for Space Command, you can rest assured that you will have picked a state that is open for investment and one that has unique qualities ideally suited to support Space Command's growth and development."

Abraham is currently running for governor against Democratic incumbent John Bel Edwards and fellow Republican Eddie Rispone, a Baton Rouge businessman.

The governor's office didn't immediately respond to a request for comment about whether Edwards has pitched Louisiana as a possible Space Command location, but the Edwards campaign said Abraham's letter supports Edwards' record as governor. 

“Rep. Abraham is finally admitting what everyone knows to be true—Louisiana is a great place to do business under Gov. John Bel Edwards. Louisiana would be a perfect fit for Space Command HQ, just like it’s been a perfect fit for technology and aerospace companies like DXC Technologies and Kopter," campaign spokesman Eric Holl said. "Gov. Edwards' opponents have consistently tried to mislead the public about Louisiana's business climate, so it’s refreshing to see the Congressman acknowledge reality in this effort to bring more business to Louisiana."

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, has pitched Houston for the project.

Abraham's letter, which is about a page and a half long, cites Louisiana's location as home of the Air Force Global Strike Command at Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City; the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk and the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in New Orleans.

"The military accounts for a nearly $8 billion economic impact in our state, and Louisiana's people would welcome further investment with open arms as we are honored to support our men and women in uniform," Abraham wrote.

Abraham also notes that the Michoud Assembly Facility has already serviced the nation's space program, and that Louisiana is home to two space grant universities — LSU and Louisiana Tech.

Abraham, a colonel and commander of the U.S. Air Force auxiliary's Congressional Squadron, is a member of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee and has served as a subcommittee chairman on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.


Follow Elizabeth Crisp on Twitter, @elizabethcrisp.