October 1, 1996
Thomas B. Chapman, vice president, executive director, AOPA Legislative Action
Many considerations influence a voter's choice of an elected official. When pilots go to the polls in November, they will obviously make up their own minds. With the election just weeks away, however, it is appropriate to make pilots aware of all the candidates who have received the support of the AOPA Political Action Committee. AOPA-PAC is one of the largest and most effective candidate support organizations in the country, and the PAC is a valuable tool in our lobbying efforts on behalf of general aviation.
As you review the list of approximately 118 candidates on the next few pages, you may be surprised to find the names of men and women representing nearly every point on the political spectrum — conservatives and liberals, Republicans and Democrats. Many are welcome newcomers emerging in one of the greatest periods of political change in recent history. Others are well-known leaders who have dedicated productive and distinguished careers to public service.
You may agree or disagree with some of these individuals when it comes to other important issues of the day. But if the subject is general aviation, you'll find that everyone on the list has demonstrated support in one way or another. Some more than others, to be sure. And the list tends to change somewhat from election to election, reflecting the inevitable shifts in our network of congressional contacts. But, in total, these are the people who have consistently shown that they understand the important contributions of general aviation.
As you review the list, keep in mind the factors that influence whether AOPA- PAC will support a specific candidate. First, those who are general aviation pilots obviously receive serious consideration because of their demonstrated interest and familiarity with aviation issues.
Second, you'll notice that members of several specific congressional committees tend to be among those who have earned PAC support. These are the so- called "committees of jurisdiction" — the committees having responsibility for matters affecting general aviation. In the House, these important committees are the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and its subcommittee on aviation, and also the Committee on Science and its subcommittee on technology. The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has broad responsibility over most aviation issues, while the Science Committee has more limited jurisdiction over the FAA's research programs.
In the Senate, most aviation matters come within the jurisdiction of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and its subcommittee on aviation. And in both the House and Senate, the appropriations committees play a key role by determining the spending priorities for federal dollars allocated to aviation programs. The FAA's annual budget is crafted by the appropriations transportation subcommittees of both the House and Senate, and several of the members of these two powerful subcommittees are among those with whom we work most closely.
Finally, a host of other factors may influence whether a candidate receives support — such as assistance provided as a member of the congressional leadership or as a member of other important committees, including the Ways and Means committees or the House Rules Committee (which controls the flow of legislation to the House floor). But all of these candidates have one thing in common. Each has demonstrated an understanding of the importance of general aviation.
With these factors in mind, here are the candidates who have earned AOPA-PAC support in 1996.
If a state is not listed, AOPA-PAC is not endorsing any candidates this year in that state.
A new FAA policy on obstructive sleep apnea that addresses many of the concerns raised by AOPA is scheduled to take effect March 2.
AOPA and the National Business Aviation Association have jointly filed an amicus, or friend of the court, brief in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals as part of the ongoing legal battle over the future of Santa Monica Municipal Airport.
AOPA worked with the flight training industry and FAA to quickly resolve a problem that suddenly put many rating applications on hold.
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