"All politics are local," the late Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill was fond of saying. So national elections are important, but politicians at the state and local levels frequently have a more immediate impact on decisions affecting local airports.
And that's why AOPA is doing more than ever to reach out to those local decision makers. AOPA's GAservingAmerica.org Web site is one outreach tool, with a section specifically designed to educate local politicians.
AOPA's Airport Support Network volunteers are another crucial element of that outreach. Some of them are not only serving as liaisons, but also are actively seeking political office so that they can have a direct influence on decisions affecting airports.
One notable success in this election cycle is Reno/Tahoe International Airport (RNO) ASN volunteer Bob Larkin. He defeated a 12-year incumbent for a seat on the Washoe County Commission. That puts him in position to make decisions affecting both RNO and Spanish Springs (N86) airport, which is being threatened by incompatible development.
AOPA members reelected to state offices include Tennessee's Lt. Gov. John Wilder and Minnesota State Rep. Mike Beard. Montana's new governor, Brian Schweitzer, is also a pilot.
November 4, 2004