A friend to general aviation, Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) has been selected to chair the aviation subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
"With Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska chairing the full committee, we have two very important allies in the Senate," said Jon Hixson, AOPA vice president of legislative affairs. Sen. Stevens is a pilot and a staunch defender of general aviation from a state where GA is frequently the only way to connect local communities.
Burns has been very helpful to general aviation as well, with strong support for protecting GA from excessive security initiatives, ensuring the future availability of backcountry airstrips, and relief for GA businesses hurt by 9/11.
"The issues this subcommittee deals with are certainly important ones considering the role aviation plays in our local, regional, and national economy," said Burns. "We are in transitional and historical times when it comes to aviation, and I am excited about this new assignment and the challenges before us."
The Commerce Committee and aviation subcommittee are "authorizing" bodies, meaning they set overall policy direction and spending limits for the federal agencies they oversee, including the FAA and TSA.
In the House, leadership of the authorizing committees for aviation remains the same. Friend of general aviation and 2004 AOPA Hartranft Award Winner, Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) chairs the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, with Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) heading the aviation subcommittee. AOPA is on good terms with both leaders.
February 8, 2005