AOPA will be closed Wednesday, June 19 in observance of the holiday. We will reopen Thursday morning, June 20th at 8:30am ET.
Get extra lift from AOPA. Start your free membership trial today! Click here

AOPA recognizes organizational advocacy in the Northwest Mountain region

The Washington State Aviation Alliance (WSAA) earned the first-ever AOPA Advocacy Partnership Award for the Northwest Mountain Region for exemplary commitment to protecting the freedom to fly.

President of the Washington State Aviation Alliance John Dobson (left) receives the AOPA Advocacy Partnership Award for the Northwest Mountain Region from Brad Schuster, AOPA Northwest Mountain regional manager. Photo courtesy of Corley McFarland.

The new award recognizes state and local aviation associations that worked closely with AOPA on issues facing their airport, state, or region, and achieved a common goal through effective airport or state advocacy. On October 25, the WSAA was presented with the inaugural award during the Washington State Community Airports Association annual conference in Leavenworth, Washington. Accepting the award on behalf of this collection of aviation associations was John Dobson, WSAA president. WSAA is composed of several state aviation organizations that are voting members including the Washington Airport Management Association; the Washington State Community Airport Association; the Washington Pilots Association; the Washington Public Ports Association; the Pacific Northwest Business Aviation Association; the Washington Seaplane Pilots Association; the Washington Aviation Association; and the Washington Department of Transportation, Aviation Division. WSAA was instrumental in the successful effort to protect the aviation community from potentially disastrous legislation in Washington state.

Most recently, a 2023 bill (H.B.1554) that would have banned distribution and sale of 100LL in phases starting in 2026 was defeated thanks to an effective partnership with AOPA. Working closely with AOPA Northwest Mountain Regional Manager Brad Schuster, WSAA developed and helped deploy important messaging to educate pilots in Washington. This messaging was shared with member organizations and several thousand pilots to drive membership contact with legislators and legislative committees. Leaders of WSAA member organizations testified in committee hearings and supported a working group of state airport officials that led to a significant reduction in some of the most onerous and harmful language in the proposed bill before it stalled in committee. Moreover, and on a continuing basis, WSAA is also working hard to get millions of dollars of revenue diverted from airports to the state going back to the airports while simultaneously helping to outline aviation-supporting legislative priorities for its membership and the state aviation community.

During the presentation of this award to WSAA, Schuster emphasized the critical importance of partnerships like this: “It takes the entire aviation ecosystem taking active roles in protecting our freedom to fly to advance favorable GA legislation and defeat anti-aviation legislation,” he said. “State and local aviation and pilot advocacy groups play a vital role in these efforts, offering valuable insights into their respective state and local community mindset.”

AOPA’s advocacy strategies are much better informed with state and local knowledge that organizations like WSAA and its member organizations contribute. Aviation advocates looking to support their community airports should get involved with local and state pilot and airport organizations and contact their AOPA regional manager for additional information about how to get involved.

Lillian Geil
Communications Specialist
Communications Specialist Lillian Geil is a student pilot and a graduate of Columbia University who joined AOPA in 2021.
Topics: Advocacy, State Legislation

Related Articles