Local allies working with AOPA can play a vital role in successfully protecting aviation, and AOPA Aviation Summit provided a perfect opportunity to establish a better working relationship with those at the state level. AOPA’s airports and state advocacy team met with a group of state aviation association representatives from around the country Nov. 6 to discuss opportunities to enhance cooperation within the aviation community. AOPA President Craig Fuller has emphasized the importance of building a coalition of general aviation advocates at the national and local levels.
Oregon Pilots Association President Brendan Fitzpatrick said that he was excited that AOPA was taking more interest in working closely with state associations. Most state aviation organizations are comprised of volunteers, Fitzpatrick said, explaining that support from AOPA would help the smaller associations with their advocacy efforts. However, he was quick to point out that he hoped the group would be able to find ways for the state organizations to help AOPA.
“It’s important for us to have local partners like Brendan who we can work with on various aviation issues,” said Joey Colleran, AOPA director of advocacy, who serves as the liaison between AOPA and the state aviation associations.
During the meeting, state leaders agreed to meet with AOPA at national events, and the association pledged to meet with the state officials while traveling in their areas.
“All politics is local,” Colleran said, “and that’s why it is important to have the ‘in state’ voice on aviation issues, in addition to support from a strong national association like AOPA.”