|See a video of the award presentation.|
AOPA paid tribute Saturday night to U.S. Congressman Harold "Hal" Rogers (R-Ky.) for his dedication to general aviation, awarding him with the prestigious J.B. "Doc" Hartranft Award for 2006.
"Congressman Rogers has been a longtime supporter of GA," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "We have always found him willing to listen to our concerns and our ideas. His steadfast support and commitment to GA programs have strengthened the aviation community across the country."
Rogers is the longest-serving Kentucky Republican ever elected to federal office and has a reputation as a skillful insider with significant influence over federal budget policy in a wide range of areas, including appropriations for GA projects.
As chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee on homeland security, Rogers is responsible for funding and oversight of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). He has been an advocate for reasonable approaches to GA security and supported AOPA's 2002 petition to require pilots to carry a government-issued photo ID, calling it "a commonsense approach to addressing the security needs at our GA airports as an inexpensive and simple security enhancement that could be implemented immediately."
Rogers also has been a staunch supporter of the Airport Watch Program. He recognizes that to continue the progress of homeland security, tools need to be provided and that Airport Watch is one of those tools. He understands that the industry itself can develop appropriate ways to address the security issue.
Prior to his position overseeing DHS spending, Rogers served as chairman of the transportation appropriations subcommittee, which supports the FAA. During this time, he held the FAA accountable for its spending and defended the federal Airport Improvement Program grants to airports.
As a senior member of the full Appropriations Committee, Rep. Rogers has been tenacious in ensuring that much-needed resources paid into the aviation trust fund reach general aviation airports across the country--especially important this year, as more than $400 million of funds targeting GA airports were at risk for airports across the country under the president's budget proposal.
Chairman Rogers understands that improving our transportation network is one of the most effective ways to promote economic growth and prosperity. In fact, earlier this year, AOPA was pleased to join Chairman Rogers in celebrating the grand opening of Williamsburg-Whitley County Airport (W38) located in his congressional district. A wonderful addition to aviation, W38 provides southeastern Kentucky with the necessary infrastructure for economic growth.
Coming from a state served by many GA airports, Congressman Rogers understands the value of GA.
The J.B. "Doc" Hartranft Award is named for AOPA's first employee and president of the association for 38 years. It is awarded annually to the federal, state, or local government official who has done the greatest good on behalf of GA.
November 11, 2006