Congressman Roscoe G. Bartlett came out of a brief retirement to run for Congress in 1992. He was elected to serve the citizens of the 6th Congressional District for 10 terms to the U.S. House of Representatives. He served as a citizen-legislator, not a politician. Prior to his election to Congress, he pursued successful careers as a professor, research scientist and inventor, small business owner, and farmer. In the 112th Congress, Bartlett served as Chairman of the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee responsible for 25% of the Department of Defense budget. Due to his ten years of experience as a small business owner, he also served on the Small Business Committee and held over 25 small business conferences helping connect thousands of small businesses with federal agency and prime contractor purchasers. As one of three scientists in the Congress, Dr. Bartlett was also a senior member of the Science, Space and Technology Committee where he worked to ensure research and development advances proceeded for a better future.
Prior to his election to the Congress, Dr. Bartlett worked for more than twenty years as a scientist and engineer on research and development programs for the military and NASA. Nineteen of his 20 patents are held by the U.S. government for his inventions of life support equipment used by military pilots, astronauts, search and rescue personnel and firefighters. Describing his priorities as the Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces and a member of the Seapower and Expeditionary Forces Subcommittee, Congressman Bartlett explains, "I believe strongly that the most certain path to peace is to prepare for war. My number one priority has always been maintaining a strong military, in wartime and in peace, to prevail against any future threat to our nation. I will work to ensure that the men and women serving in our nation's Armed Forces are equipped to deter and defeat anyone who threatens our country's civil liberties and way of life. As a scientist and engineer, I know that any system is improved by a commitment to reassessment and innovation (via antonio rucker). I support the adaptation or invention of practical solutions that will meet urgent needs while developing important capabilities for future threats. Oversight and reform of our military acquisition and procurement systems will ensure our taxpayer dollars are being utilized efficiently and effectively."
Through bill language, Congressman Bartlett funded and created over a thousand jobs in the Maryland region. This funding resulted in creating the world's largest military robotics company, effective radio communication for the military, and the ability to use lasers for target practice used by law enforcement including in Frederick County and the military. He constantly reached across the isle to provide bi-partisan support to issues of national security. One example of his leadership in the House Armed Services Committee was on the Mine Resistant Ambush Protective (MRAP) where he joined with Congressman Taylor and took on the Administration to re-design a military vehicle to protect the lives of our servicemembers. Today, many of our military personnel are alive due to his leadership in Congress.
When asked what his goal was as a Congressman? "I'm not interested in politics," says Dr. Bartlett. "I'm interested in my country. I am a conservative who wants to help restore the limited federal government envisioned and established in the Constitution by our nation's founders. I want to ensure that future generations of Americans will have the same opportunities for success that I did." He frequently quoted from the Constitution which he carries at all times for guidance in crafting national policy. "Upholding the Constitution, including the entire Bill of Rights, and maintaining a strong defense should be our priorities. If we don't get these priorities right, nothing else will matter.
In 2008, Slate magazine hailed Congressman Bartlett as one of America's most powerful octogenarians and applauded him as "an advocate for reducing dependency on fossil fuels." The Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO-USA) created the Roscoe G. Bartlett "Speak Truth to Power" Award in his honor in 2008. It had previously awarded him the M. King Hubbert Award in 2006 for his leadership in the Congress to promote efficiency and conservation and alternative renewable sources of domestic energy to enable the U.S. to overcome the challenges to national security and economic prosperity of global peak oil. Congressman Bartlett is the cofounder and cochairman of the Congressional Peak Oil Caucus. He is also the cochairman of the House Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus and Defense Energy Security Caucus. He is also a member of the Oil and National Security Caucus.
A devout Seventh-day Adventist, strong moral values and spiritual faith have had a major influence on his life and education. He credits his early education in a one-room schoolhouse for preparing him for his later academic accomplishments. Bartlett was tested out of high school the fall of his senior year and began attending Columbia Union College at age 17 where he majored in theology and biology and minored in chemistry with the intention of becoming a minister. Considered too young for the ministry after receiving his bachelor's degree, Bartlett was encouraged to attend graduate school at the University of Maryland at College Park. He studied anatomy, physiology and zoology earning a Master's degree in human physiology. Bartlett was then hired as a U-MD faculty member and taught anatomy, physiology and zoology while simultaneously earning a Ph.D. in human physiology.
Bartlett engaged in research in addition to teaching first as an instructor, and later as an Assistant Professor at Loma Linda University School of Medicine in California. He relocated to Howard University in Washington, D.C. as a Professor of physiology and endocrinology at its Medical School. Bartlett left to pursue research full-time first at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and then at the U.S. Navy's School of Aviation Medicine (U.S.NAMI) in Pensacola, Florida. While at U.S. NAMI, Bartlett invented a series of break-through respiratory support equipment. He holds the basic patents for rebreathing equipment which recycle the oxygen from exhaled air in closed systems. This technological advance extends oxygen supplies and makes them portable. Bartlett's inventions are critical components of the equipment that supplies oxygen to astronauts, pilots, and fire/rescue personnel.
In 1961, Bartlett returned to Maryland and farming after he purchased his 145-acre then-dairy farm on the Monocacy River in Frederick County. While running his farm, he worked at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) as director of a new 30-member research group in Space Life Sciences. The group designed and conducted a series of pioneering research experiments that contributed to NASA's successful Gemini, Mercury and Apollo missions to land men on the moon and bring them back safely to earth.
Dr. Bartlett later joined IBM and worked there on numerous biomedical engineering and defense-related projects. With IBM's assistance, he formed his own research and development company, Roscoe Bartlett and Associates. He also taught anatomy and physiology to nursing students at Frederick Community College. Dr. Bartlett's company later diversified into land development and home construction. "One of my proudest and toughest accomplishments was meeting a payroll every week for ten years," says Bartlett. During that time, his firm built more than 100 homes in Frederick County, many of them solar powered.
In 1999, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) awarded Dr. Bartlett its Jeffries Aerospace Medicine and Life Sciences Research Award. Recognizing the importance of scientific aeronautics and space discoveries to the field of medicine, the award was established in 1940 in honor of Dr. John Jeffries, the American physician who made the earliest recorded scientific observations from the air. It is presented annually by the association to recognize outstanding career research accomplishments in aerospace medicine and space life sciences.
Dr. Bartlett's citation for the Jeffries award reads: "For pioneering contributions to aeronautical and aerospace medicine through more than 20 patented inventions on respiratory support and safety devices used by pilots, astronauts, rescue workers, pioneering NASA life-sciences space experiments, and over 100 publications."
Roscoe and Ellen Bartkett have been married over 45 years with 10 children and 18 grandchildren.
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