U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD.) talks with staff at AOPA headquarters during a recent visit to Frederick.
U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD.) toured AOPA headquarters during a recent visit to Frederick, which included visits to Frederick Municipal Airport and the Maryland State Police helicopter barracks, both adjacent to the association’s buildings.
Cardin addressed gathered association staff members telling them he is “proud that you are here in Frederick.” He then said that the association staffers are the people who are out front on what’s happening in the economy—“You are talking to people all over the country; you can tell us how the economy is doing,” noting that the AOPA Pilot Information Center and Membership Services employ more than 50 individuals who respond to calls from all over the country.
In a recent visit to AOPA headquarters in Frederick, Md., Senator Ben Cardin (D-M.D.) said he is “cautiously optimistic” about the economic recovery.
“We are making progress; we may not see it in the next couple of months, but I think by the end of the year our economy will be back on track.”
Cardin emphasized the need for the recovery to come through small business, companies such as those in general aviation. “We’ve been working with small businesses—70 percent of the growth is in the small business sector,” he said. “I see the connection between small business and small aircraft.”
Asked why he believes the economic downturn is beginning to shift, Cardin said that in addition to the affect of the economic stimulus package, homeowners are now more confident than ever in their ability to purchase homes. Cardin was instrumental in the passing of the bill that gives $8,000 credit to new home buyers.
Cardin was surprised at the magnitude of work accomplished at AOPA and the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. Told the number of calls and e-mails received daily, he remarked in disbelief, “That much?” and when told that the Air Safety Foundation receives more than 11,000 hits online per month, he repeated, “A month?”
AOPA Executive Vice President Andy Cebula (left) with Senator Ben Cardin.
AOPA Executive Vice President Andy Cebula told Cardin that an airport reflects the number of pilots it serves. “If there are 100 aircraft based at an airport, we estimate that there are four pilots for every aircraft.” Cardin remarked that he learned something new and liked the “multiplying effect.” He likened it to what needs to happen in the economy—more small businesses equals more jobs, more jobs equals a healthy economy—a message that resonates in AOPA’s GA Serves America campaign.
“AOPA provides an extremely valuable service to our country,” Cardin said.
Cardin recognized Julianna Albowicz, assistant to Sen. Barbara Milkulski, who was also at headquarters and lauded Milkulski’s efforts on behalf of the state of Maryland. “She’s a real fighter,” he said.
Executive Vice President Roger Myers noted that AOPA is proud to be in Maryland and that the 185 employees of the association in Frederick are Cardin’s constituents. Cardin personally greeted many members of the staff after he spoke.