January 28, 2010
By Alyssa J. Miller
Less than a year after Reps. Allen Boyd (D-Fla.) and Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.) formed the House General Aviation Caucus, more than 100 members of Congress have joined the group.
The caucus launched in April last year with the purpose of educating elected officials on Capitol Hill of the value of GA to the economy and national transportation system. Throughout the year, members of the caucus took a stand for GA on security issues, FAA funding, and public perception.
“Having 100 members in the House GA caucus is vitally important as we head into the new year,” said Lorraine Howerton, AOPA vice president of legislative affairs. “General aviation will likely continue to face many challenges, and having such a strong presence on Capitol Hill will go a long way in educating others in government about the true value of GA.”
Founders Boyd and Ehlers are longtime GA supports and were honored for their efforts in Congress during AOPA Aviation Summit in November 2009. AOPA presented the two with the Joseph B. “Doc” Hartranft Award, which honors the elected official or officials who have done the most in the past year to support GA.
Find out if your representative is a member of the GA Caucus and send him or her a note of thanks for taking a stand for GA. If your representative hasn’t signed up, let him or her know the value of joining this group. Representatives’ contact information is available on the House Web site.
The Senate GA Caucus is wasting no time in its efforts to protect general aviation. The caucus met Jan. 28 to discuss preliminary plans for the year and articulate the group’s goals.
During the meeting, senators stressed the importance of being actively involved in general aviation issues, including security, safety, and NextGen. The group also talked about the misperception of GA and was to make the industry part of the conversation to boost the U.S. economy.
“The Caucus looks forward to working with pilots, aircraft owners, the aviation industry, and government agencies to ensure general aviation has a strong voice in Washington,” wrote Senate GA Caucus Co-Chairs Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) in a letter to fellow senators.
The Senate caucus has 23 members and is inviting others to join. If your senator is not a member of the caucus, encourage him or her to join.
AOPA Director of eMedia and Online Managing Editor Alyssa J. Miller has worked at AOPA since 2004 and is an active flight instructor.
A touch of history, affordable flying, unique sightseeing, a good meal, and a community of pilots: Isn’t that what general aviation is all about?
Getting the job done on the local and national levels requires long-term planning, a hands-on approach, and keeping the effort moving, said Sean Collins, AOPA’s Eastern regional manager.
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