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Congresswoman Joins House GA Caucus After NBAA Member's Request
March 15, 2011
"With fundamental issues for business aviation under debate in Washington right now, like the future of the BARR program and FAA reauthorization," said NBAA Member Robert Mark, CEO of marketing communications firm CommAvia and editor of aviation blog Jetwhine.com, "it's critical to have the support of Members of Congress, especially through the General Aviation (GA) Caucuses."
Knowing this, Mark earlier this year asked his Congresswoman, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-9- IL), to join the GA Caucus in the House. After listening to Mark's concerns, she did.
"I'd been concerned that business aviation was underrepresented on the Department of Transportation's Future of Aviation Advisory Committee (FAAC)," said Mark. "So I started calling Rep. Schakowsky's office and her legislative aides set up a meeting for us."
Schakowsky met with Mark in October 2010. After the FAAC released its report in December, Mark called Schakowsky to ask that she join the House GA Caucus. Her aides studied the issues facing business aviation, including FAA reauthorization. As Mark had pointed out, there were several airports in the Chicago area that badly needed runway and facility upgrades, waiting on Airport Improvement Program funds. Last month, an aide called Mark to say that the Congresswoman had joined the caucus.
"Rep. Schakowsky has always been willing to listen," said Mark. "She's engaged, she asks questions and she acts fairly. I think other NBAA Members will find their representatives are similarly responsive."
NBAA makes it simple for Members to contact their Members of Congress with the Association's online Contact Congress resource. After entering their basic contact information, Members can review and send a letter to their representatives and senators, emphasizing the importance of business aviation and urging them to join the GA Caucus in their chamber.
After Rep. Schakowsky joined the House GA Caucus, Mark urged his colleagues in the Chicago Area Business Aviation Association (CABAA) to reach out to their representatives as well.
"I suggested to CABAA's president that we could focus on how to contact your Member of Congress at the next CABAA meeting," said Mark. "We can't assume that someone else is going to stand up for our industry, our programs and our airports, so it's important to pick up the phone. What makes it worthwhile is establishing a relationship with your representative. Now, when Rep. Schakowsky's aides have a question about the BARR program, they call me."
To learn more and get involved, Contact Congress.