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Capito Shares “Rise Up” Event With Astronaut Whitson

April 4, 2018
BY JOSELYN KING - For the Wetzel Chronicle , Wetzel Chronicle

Astronaut Peggy Whitson - the first woman to command the International Space Station - joined U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., at New Martinsville School March 27 for a "West Virginia Girls Rise Up" event to inspire the state's future female leaders. Capito is the first woman to represent West Virginia in the U.S. Senate.

Capito visited Madison Elementary School in Ohio County after her visit to NMS.

Whitson, who grew up on a farm in Iowa, said she has been to space and the International Space Station three times. Her first flight took place in 2002, while she was named commander for her second mission in 2008. Each of these stays lasted six months.

Article Photos

Photo by Bruce Crawford
Esteemed astronaut Peggy Whitson and U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) listen to questions from New Martinsville School students.

Her third mission began Nov. 17, 2016, while she returned 10 months later on Sept. 3. With a total of 665 days in space, Whitson holds the U.S. record, placing eighth on the all-time space endurance list, according to information provided by NASA.

Whitson also made 10 spacewalks, each lasting about eight hours in duration, she said.

Capito said, after her event at Madison Elementary School, that she was inspired to start the "West Virginia Girls Rise Up" to mentor young females because of the comments she often hears about her father, former West Virginia Gov. Arch Moore.

Capito said there are countless people who tell her of the things Moore did for them, and how even small acts by him - such as helping a community's baseball field - impacted lives in major ways.

After she was elected to the U.S. House in 2000, she said began to think of a way she could have a major impact on the lives of the constituents she now represented.

"I had the opportunity in a lot of big ways with legislation and leading the direction of the country," Capito said. "But I thought about what I want my daughter to hear about me, and what kind of legacy I would like to leave.

"The legacy I thought I would like to leave is to inspire the next generation of leaders - particularly female leaders, as I am the first woman senator from the state of West Virginia."

Capito told the girls that in 1970, there were only 11 women among the 535 elected members of Congress.

Today there are 23 women serving in the Senate, and 84 in the House, for a total of 107 in Congress.



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