The 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.
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.
“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 AOPA President Mark Baker. “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.”
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.
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 GA supporters who previously served in the House are now serving in the Senate and could help bolster the Caucus.
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.
The House General Aviation Caucus will also be seeking new Democratic leadership to join Rep. Sam Graves (R-Missouri) following the departure of co-chair and AOPA member John Barrow (D-Georgia).