Election Results And General Aviation

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The Nov. 2 elections will usher in a change in leadership at the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee next year, and raises questions for the future of aviation legislation and funding. James Oberstar, D-Minn., a 36-year veteran of the House of Representatives, had chaired the transportation committee since 2007. He opposed user fees on general aviation and worked to pass the reauthorization bill that funds the FAA. The FAA has been attempting to plan its future for the past three years while operating under 16 temporary reauthorization extensions. The latest extension is due to expire at year-end. Oberstar's seat was lost this election to Chip Cravaack, a former Northwest Airlines pilot. The shift in representation of 60-plus House seats was driven in part by voters concerned with fiscal responsibility in government. It has also altered the Congressional General Aviation Caucus, which is something AOPA had sought to avoid.

"General aviation had made significant strides with the current Congress, including the House and Senate Aviation Caucuses," according to Lorraine Howerton, AOPA vice president of legislative affairs. The association had sent an e-mail to members prior to the election encouraging them to vote for every member of the Congressional General Aviation Caucus. All advocacy groups will now seek to forge new relationships with the newly elected people they'll wish to educate and influence on matters of aviation.