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Leader of U.S. Conference of Mayors Joins Aviation Alliance Board

Nov. 2, 2013

In a further demonstration of the significance of general aviation to communities across the United States, the Alliance for Aviation Across America recently announced that Mesa, AZ Mayor Scott Smith will join its Board of Directors.

Smith also serves as president of the United States Conference of Mayors, which is comprised of the leaders of cities with populations of 30,000 or more.

"I look forward to working with the alliance on our shared mission of educating lawmakers and the public about the critical importance of our aviation infrastructure, particularly for local communities around the country," Smith said. "These aircraft and airports are a literal lifeline and economic engine for cities and towns around the nation."

NBAA, which is a member of the alliance, along with several other general aviation associations, welcomed the development. Association President and CEO Ed Bolen, who serves on the alliance's board, noted the significant impact that grassroots support has on matters of concern to the industry. As an example, Bolen pointed to a letter sent by 70 mayors in May 2013 to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, urging him to retain 149 contract air traffic control facilities across the country threatened for closure under federal budget sequestration. This and other appeals from concerned citizens and leaders across the country led Congress to authorize funding to keep the towers open.

"We look forward to working with Mayor Smith on issues impacting the general aviation industry and the communities across the country that depend on aviation," Bolen said.

Smith has been a private pilot for seven years. He was first elected mayor of Mesa, a Phoenix suburb, in 2008, and will begin his second term next year. The alliance noted that Smith regularly flies volunteer missions on behalf of Flights for Life, an Arizona-based group providing free air transport of blood for the state chapter of United Blood Services.

"We are thrilled that Mayor Smith has joined our Board of Directors," said Selena Shilad, alliance executive director. "As a pilot, a mayor and the head of an organization that represents over a thousand cities and towns across the United States, the mayor truly understands the value of general aviation and local airports."

In addition to a diverse coalition of industry stakeholders that are members of the alliance, the U.S. Conference of Mayors is the latest of many non-aviation organizations and individuals throughout the U.S. to have joined the organization. Other members include the National Farmers Union, the League of Rural Voters, the National Grange, and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.