More than 180 attendees tuned in for a virtual discussion with Arizona Senator Mark Kelly on March 30.

The conversation was moderated by James Hatch, ex-Navy SEAL and Yale undergraduate student enrolled in the Eli Whitney program for nontraditional undergraduates.

The pair—who are acquainted from their time serving in the U.S. military—discussed Kelly’s journey from serving as an astronaut to his current role as a U.S. Senator and the role of science in solving the country’s problems.

When asked why he decided to run for the Senate, Kelly offered the analogy of a trajectory — crucial for space travel, but also in thinking about the direction the country is headed. Kelly cited his top priorities as improving education, particularly producing more scientists and engineers, expanding health care access, and addressing the deficit.

Kelly also talked about the importance of bipartisanship and the legacy of Sen. John McCain, whose seat Kelly now holds.

He underscored the value of getting the word from the ground by talking with mayors and tribal government leaders in his state.

Kelly, who serves on the Armed Services Committee, was also asked to share his views on the U.S.-China relationship, domestic manufacturing of key technology components, and the new infrastructure bill.

Watch a recording of the discussion