Jan. 22, 2015
Contact: Steve Hedges
FREDERICK, MD – The U.S. Senate General Aviation Caucus has found new leadership for the 114th Congress in Sens. John Boozman (R-Arkansas) and Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), both staunch supporters of general aviation.
“We are deeply pleased to see two senators who really understand the importance and value of general aviation stepping forward to lead the GA Caucus,” said Mark Baker, president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). “The caucus plays an important role in sharing information about issues that affect the general aviation community, and that will be especially true as Congress takes up FAA reauthorization this year.”
Boozman, who introduced third-class medical reform legislation in the Senate, was a member of the GA Caucus during the last Congress. Manchin, who previously served as the Governor of West Virginia, is a longtime pilot and AOPA member.
During the 113th Congress, the Senate GA Caucus had 41 members. While eight of those did not return to the Senate this year, a number of GA supporters who previously served in the House have been elected to the Senate and could help bolster the Caucus.
Together, the House and Senate GA Caucuses counted 294 members during the last Congress. Rep. Sam Graves (R-Missouri) is expected to once again serve as co-chair of the House GA Caucus along with a new Democratic leader to be announced soon.
The senators announced Jan.21 that they would co-chair the caucus, replacing Democrat Mark Begich of Alaska, who lost his re-election bid, and Republican Mike Johanns of Nebraska, who retired from the Senate.
In a joint news release, Sens. Boozman and Manchin focused on the economic contributions made by general aviation. Boozman noted that GA airports in Arkansas support more than $500 million in annual economic activity and that 10,000 Arkansas residents work in aviation and aerospace manufacturing. Manchin told a similar story, saying that West Virginia’s aviation system supports more than 11,000 jobs and contributes about $616 million to the economy.
Nationwide, GA contributes approximately $150 billion to the economy and supports more than 1.2 million jobs.
Since 1939, AOPA has protected the freedom to fly for thousands of pilots, aircraft owners and aviation enthusiasts. AOPA is the world’s largest aviation member association, with representatives based in Frederick, Md., Washington, D.C., Wichita, Kans., and seven regions across the United States. AOPA provides member services that range from advocacy at the federal, state, and local levels to legal services, flight planning products, safety programs and award-winning media. To learn more, visit www.aopa.org.
- AOPA -