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U.S. Reps. Mike Sodrel and John Mica with AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer Dick Goodman.

With both the House and Senate in recess for the month of August, now is the time for your voice to be heard by your elected officials. And best of all, you can do it from your own community.

"Congressional recess periods are by far the best opportunities for persuasive political action," said Christine Corcoran, AOPA vice president of legislative affairs. "With the elections less than three months away, members of Congress will be spending this time campaigning, and many will hold 'town meetings' in their states and districts."

Your participation in the legislative and political process is an effective means of ensuring that AOPA's concerns are heard. As you know, we will face a debate on FAA funding next year. The FAA and the association representing the airlines are advocating for a user fee-based system. AOPA encourages you to attend these town meetings and ask your members of Congress where they stand on FAA funding.

Take AOPA Airport Support Network (ASN) volunteer Bill Kramer, who represents our "eyes and ears" for Clark Regional Airport in Jeffersonville, Indiana, and Dick Goodman, who does the same for Madison Municipal Airport in Madison, Indiana. Last week U.S. Reps. Mike Sodrel (R-Ind.) and John Mica (R-Fla.) attended local airport meetings, and Kramer and Goodman used the opportunities to point out the important value their airports play in the economy.

"It is one thing to present the chairman of the House aviation subcommittee [Mica] with a stack of papers, it is quite another to bring the chairman to physically see the airports and speak directly to the people involved," Sodrel said. "Chairman Mica was impressed with the two airports we visited. He now understands the opportunities and needs of each of these facilities."

Although Mica wanted to focus on airport funding during the visits, he told Kramer that he wants to have hearings on user fees and wants to personally hear from Kramer.

"It is your right and obligation to let your elected officials know your concerns and ideas," Corcoran added. "Members of Congress are more receptive than ever to grassroots lobbying and their constituent's opinions."

Information about town meetings can be found by contacting your elected officials.

August 8, 2006

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