February 1, 1994
During the months leading up to the November election, AOPA Legislative Action has profiled prominent congressional candidates up for election who are especially strong allies of general aviation.
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 candidates on the next few pages, you may be surprised to find the names of men and woman representing nearly every point on the political spectrum — conservatives and liberals, Republicans and Democrats. The list contains approximately 130 names, divided nearly evenly between the two political parties. Many are welcome newcomers. 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. 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 which 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 which have responsibility for matters affecting general aviation. In the House, these important committees are the full Committee on Public Works and Transportation and its subcommittee on aviation, and also the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and its subcommittee on technology, environment, and aviation. The Public Works 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 transportation appropriations 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 Committee 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 1994. — Thomas B. Chapman, Vice President, Executive Director, AOPA Legislative Action
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