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The race to be the next chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee is getting under way.

Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), a climate change skeptic, on Wednesday explained why he's seeking the gavel.

Sensenbrenner, in a statement, said he wants to lead the panel because the nation’s science and space policy is at a “critical juncture,” and that he would bring strong oversight to what he alleges is politicized science under President Obama.

Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Texas), the current chairman, must hand off the gavel due to term limits.

Sensenbrenner faces competition for the slot from Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), whom an aide said is “actively pursuing” the chairmanship. Sensenbrenner said his first priority will be to “pass smart science and space policy that spurs job creation and ensures America’s future competitiveness.”

He has questioned the views held by the vast majority of scientists about global warming and disputed the notion that the effects of carbon dioxide emissions are dangerous.

Here’s more from Sensenbrenner on why he’s seeking the chairmanship:

Specifically, we must responsibly fund our research and development programs, refocus NASA and foster the developing private space industry, and put the United States back on a path toward being a leader in [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] education.

Additionally, it’s more important than ever that the House exercises our constitutional oversight role. The Obama Administration has shown its willingness to manipulate science for political ends and threaten our domestic energy production and our economy in the process. I have a record of effective oversight, and I will continue to keep the Administration accountable for their use of science in crafting regulations and policies.

Smith — who has also questioned human-induced climate change — is currently chairman of the Judiciary Committee, but must leave the post due to term limits on chairmanships. He said the science job is his true calling.

“When I was first elected to Congress, the Science Committee was my first choice. Long ago and far away, I won the Bausch & Lomb Science Award in high school, studied astronomy and physics in college, and later earned my pilot’s license. So I have had a longstanding interest in subjects overseen by the Science Committee.” Smith said in a statement.

Here’s more from Smith:

It is important that NASA have a unifying mission. Even though it has been almost 40 years since man last set foot on the moon, we should continue to shoot for the stars. And we can help future generations get there by encouraging kids to study in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). If America is going to remain competitive in today’s global economy, we need to remain innovative and focused on exploring science and expanding new technologies. Through the work, research and development of American innovators, we can reach our goal of energy independence, develop new technologies to save lives, and discover new worlds in outer space.

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