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AOPA hopeful as Pres. Bush taps NYC's former top cop to head homeland securityAOPA hopeful as Pres. Bush taps NYC's former top cop to head homeland security

AOPA hopeful as Pres. Bush taps NYC's former top cop to head homeland security

President Bush on Friday nominated former New York City police commissioner Bernard B. Kerik to succeed Tom Ridge as secretary of homeland security.

Kerik helped oversee the city's response to the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001 and has held numerous other law enforcement-related positions. However, none of those positions have allowed him to articulate his views toward general aviation. As a result, many questions remain.

For instance, will his strong security bias translate to proposing more airspace restrictions like the ADIZ that has had a stranglehold on GA in the Washington, D.C., area? Or will he, like the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), recognize that GA airplanes and airports do not pose a security threat? AOPA and its members will hopefully get some near-term glimpses into these and related issues during his upcoming Senate confirmation hearings.

"We hope that Mr. Kerik will continue in the path set by Secretary Ridge, recognizing that security must be balanced with the freedom of movement and commerce that general aviation represents and are fundamental to our rights as American citizens," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "We look forward to establishing with him the same kind of cooperative relationship that we had with Tom Ridge."

Assuming he is confirmed by the Senate, Kerik would take on the job of running the Department of Homeland Security, which includes the TSA.

In announcing the nomination, President Bush said, "Bernie Kerik is one of the most accomplished and effective leaders of law enforcement in America.... In every position, he has demonstrated a deep commitment to justice, a heart for the innocent, and a record of great success." Bush said that Kerik is a "dedicated, innovative reformer who insists on getting results."

Secretary Ridge has pledged to stay on as the head of DHS until February 1, 2005, unless his successor is confirmed and sworn in before then.


December 3, 2004

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