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About Us

Welcome to the Congressional Optics & Photonics (O&P) Caucus webpage! Please take a look around for O&P Caucus events and briefings, press releases, news items, and opportunities to get engaged.

 

ABOUT THE CAUCUS

The Congressional Optics & Photonics (O&P) Caucus was founded in August 2020, during the 116th Congress, to be a focused, active, and effective advocate for policies that promote the use of light-based technologies. The bipartisan and bicameral O&P Caucus, founded and Co-chaired by Reps. Joe Morelle (D-NY25) and Brian Mast (R-FL18), and Honorary Co-Chairs Senators Steve Daines (R-MT) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), is proud to host briefings and roundtable discussions with industry experts, promote quality legislation to advance the industry, discuss solutions to workforce development challenges, and highlight the success and growth of light-based technologies.

The O&P Caucus also works to help Members connect with local industry leaders, identify quality certificate and degree programs, and educate constituents on the benefits of optics and photonics.


MISSION

The Optics & Photonics (O&P) Caucus seeks to advance the use of light-based technologies through public and private investments and policies. These technologies can significantly improve defense capabilities, communications, energy, healthcare, advanced manufacturing, and scientific research. They also play a pivotal role in workforce development. The caucus will work in a bipartisan way to increase awareness of how optics and photonics improves the everyday lives of Americans and maintains the U.S. position as a leader in global innovation.


HISTORY

Rep. Joe Morelle (D-NY) came to Congress in November 2018 with a deep appreciation of the far-reaching benefits and opportunities offered by the optics and photonics industries. His Monroe County, NY-based district is deeply connected to America’s flourishing optics and photonics industry, so he was surprised to find that despite its nationwide success, there is a general lack of understanding in Washington about the development and application of optics and photonics.

The Congressman found like minded views in his colleague, Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL), who similarly represents a region with a thriving optics and photonics industry. To educate policy-makers on the optics and photonics industry and promote the application of light-based technologies, the Congressmen teamed up with fellow optics and photonics enthusiasts, Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) and Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and together they established the Optics & Photonics (O&P) Caucus.