ARTICLE: Getting GA’s message to lawmakers
Washington is a tough place to deliver a message. Most of the Members of Congress are so inundated with massive stacks of letters and jammed electronic in-boxes of emails that they employ a staff to read, filter and deliver summaries of what is being sent to them.
Substantive issues like GA concerns over user fees, loss of depreciation for aircraft purchases and closure of contract air traffic control towers are heard by Senators from Kansas, Georgia or other states in which aviation is a major employer. They are open to and get the message.
Those same matters do not pass through the mail filters of all Members. Major concerns to the manufacturers and operators of GA aircraft do not reach the boss. How do you beat that system?
Charles Spence suggests getting an aviation enthusiast, like Harrison Ford, involved. His meetings and his messages cut through the normal barriers due to his Hollywood star power; legislators love contact with people with high recognition value. The Members attend his briefings (staff have to fight to get included) and read his notes.
The visit by Mr. Ford is temporary. Yes, his endorsements expand the base, but the legislative process is a constant battle. The Spence article delves into the GA Caucus, 170 Representatives and 35 Senators.
This is an on-going group which gets support from AOPA, NBAA, NATA and EAA. The caucus participants share intelligence about bills and leadership agendas involving general aviation. There are periodic meetings at which Senators, Representatives and their staffs discuss their agenda and strategies to implement key initiatives. The alliances created there assure that, when late night motions portending harm to small aircraft are likely and/or when a mark-up may be a great opportunity to tune a bill to the benefit of operators, enough votes from the GA Caucus will be there.
Thank you Mr. Ford and thank you GA Caucus.