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The importance of the House GA Caucus
January 24, 2011
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  • By Dave Cook

    January 18, 2011

    Action. That one word differentiates aviators from so many of our earthbound brothers and sisters. We are used to taking action, resulting in the successful accomplishment of our flights. That same spirit of action should also apply to protecting our freedom to fly. That spirit is found not only at our local airports, but also within the halls of Congress.

    As one of the youngest groups to be formed in Congress, the General Aviation Caucus flies top cover for our general aviation community’s interests. Formed in early 2009 by Congressman Vernon Ehlers (R-Michigan) and Congressman Allen Boyd (D-Florida), the mission of this pro-general aviation group of lawmakers is to educate their colleagues on the importance of general aviation to both national transportation and our economy. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate have their own General Aviation Caucus. The focus now is on the House because of the relatively large class of new lawmakers.

    Why is this group important, you may ask? One of the biggest reasons the General Aviation Caucus is important is that its members were instrumental in blunting the recent effort to establish user fees for services provided to general aviation. These are key people in Washington, D.C. who understand the importance of the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program funding to our national transportation system. These are also the folks who are members of the many different committees and subcommittees that can compel testimony from federal departments and agencies and hold them accountable for their actions, inactions and regulations. The bipartisan approach to promoting and protecting general aviation is one of the key elements contributing to the cohesion and success of the GA Caucus.

    This group is also important because of its sheer size. During the 111th Session of Congress, the GA Caucus grew from a membership of 2 to 124, making it one of the largest caucuses in Congress. But the recent elections reduced the number of returning members of the GA Caucus for the 112th Congress. And that’s where we as a community of general aviators come in.

    Congressmen Ehlers and Boyd passed the torch to the new GA Caucus leaders for the 112th Congress: Congressman Sam Graves (R-Missouri) and Congressman John Barrow (D-Georgia). But the caucus now has only 86 members – 38 fewer members than a mere month ago. Effectively, those who represent our interests have dropped from more than 28% of the voting members of the House to just below 20%. By the time you read this, Graves and Barrow will have just sent out invitations to the freshman class to join the GA Caucus.

    A reader who commented on a previous article I wrote asked for a solid direction to take in supporting general aviation – marching orders, he wrote. Okay, here is the direction I suggest:

    Make sure that the member of Congress from your district knows how important general aviation is to you, their constituent. Write a letter. Make a phone call. Send an e-mail. Take action!

    If your district recently elected a new member to the House – especially if your previous representative was in the GA Caucus – ask them if they will become a member of the Caucus for the 112th Congress.

    If they aren’t comfortable joining the GA Caucus for whatever reason, refer to step 1. Not everybody who gets elected to Congress knows general aviation, so a reluctance to educate other members of Congress on a topic that they may not know well is understandable. But make sure that they know how important general aviation is to you.

    Energize. Engage. Encourage. Stay energized and be active in your local airport and government. Stay engaged with decision makers that can impact what happens at your airport at all levels of government. Continue to encourage our lawmakers to support general aviation!

    Write Your Representative webpage:

    Select your state

    Enter your zip code and 4-digit zip code extension

    Click on the “Contact My Representative” button

    The House GA Caucus

    Here is a list of the current members of the House’s General Aviation Caucus (as of Jan. 10, 2011):

    Donald Young (R-Alaska)

    Mike Ross (D-Arkansas)

    Brian Bilbray (R-California)

    Mary Bono Mack (R-California)

    John Campbell R-California)

    Bob Filner (D-California)

    Duncan Hunter (R-California)

    Darrell Issa (R-California)

    Kevin McCarthy (R-California)

    Laura Richardson (D-California)

    Linda Sanchez (D-California)

    Loretta Sanchez (D-California)

    Brad Sherman (D-California)

    Mike Thompson (D-California)

    Mike Coffman (R-Colorado)

    Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-District of Columbia)

    Ander Creshaw (R-Florida)

    Connie Mack (R-Florida)

    Jeff Miller (R-Florida)

    Bill Posey (R-Florida)

    John Barrow (D-Georgia)

    Paul Broun (R-Georgia)

    Hank Johnson (D-Georgia)

    Jack Kingston (R-Georgia)

    Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa)

    David Loebsack (D-Iowa)

    Daniel Lipinski (D-Illinois)

    Donald Manzullo (R-Illinois)

    John Shimkus (R-Illinois)

    Lynn Jenkins (R-Kansas)

    Geoff Davis (R-Kentucky)

    Brett Gutherie (R-Kentucky)

    Hal Rogers (R-Kentucky)

    Stephen Lynch (D-Massachusetts)

    James McGovern (D-Massachusetts)

    Roscoe Bartlett (R-Maryland)

    Candice Miller (R-Michigan)

    Fred Upton (R-Michigan)

    John Kline (R-Minnesota)

    Collin Peterson (D-Minnesota)

    Timothy Walz (D-Minnesota)

    Sam Graves (R-Missouri)

    Russ Carnahan (D-Missouri)

    Denny Rehberg (R-Montana)

    Howard Coble (R-North Carolina)

    Walter Jones (R-North Carolina)

    Adrian Smith (R-Nebraska)

    Frank LoBiondo (R-New Jersey)

    Shelley Berkley (D-Nevada)

    Dean Heller (R-Nevada)

    Timothy Bishop (D-New York)

    Steve Israel (D-New York)

    Christopher Lee (R-New York)

    Carolyn McCarthy (D-New York)

    Steve Austria (R-Ohio)

    Jim Jordan (R-Ohio)

    Patrick Tiberi (R-Ohio)

    John Sullivan (R-Oklahoma)

    Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon)

    Kurt Schrader (D-Oregon)

    Greg Walden (R-Oregon)

    Jason Altmire (D-Pennsylvania)

    Charles Dent (R-Pennsylvania)

    Timothy Holden (D-Pennsylvania)

    Bill Shuster (R-Pennsylvania)

    John Duncan (R-Tennessee)

    Michael Burgess (R-Texas)

    John Carter (R-Texas)

    Michael Conaway (R-Texas)

    Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas)

    Kenny Marchant (R-Texas)

    Michael McCaul (R-Texas)

    Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas)

    Peter Olson (R-Texas)

    Ron Paul (R-Texas)

    Ted Poe (R-Texas)

    Peter Sessions (R-Texas)

    Lamar Smith (R-Texas)

    Rob Bishop (R-Utah)

    Gerald Connolly (D-Virginia)

    Frank Wolf (R-Virginia)

    Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin)

    Thomas Petri (R-Wisconsin)

    Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia)

    Nick Rahall (D-West Virginia)

    Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyoming)

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