May 30, 2013 - EAA staff members joined elected officials and hundreds of GA industry workers Thursday morning at the Gulfstream Aerospace maintenance facility in Appleton, Wisconsin, as the General Aviation Manufacturers Association hosted a GA jobs rally to get out the word on America's general aviation community.
Elected officials present included Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI); U.S. Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI), who represents Oshkosh in Congress; Rep. Reid Ribble (R-WI); and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson. Together they stressed the vital role GA plays in Wisconsin's and the entire nation's economy.
"I'm proud to be a part of this event to celebrate and promote general aviation," said Gov. Walker, a longtime AirVenture attendee. "The economic impact created by general aviation is strong, and it plays such an important role in providing the transportation needs of individuals and businesses across the globe."
EAA officials had the opportunity to meet with the lawmakers and express thanks for their past support, as well as brief them on the disproportionate burdens being placed on GA by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) under the guise of budget sequestration. That includes the FAA's demand that EAA and other aviation groups pay for air traffic control and other FAA services at events such as AirVenture.
Petri, member of the House Subcommittee on Aviation and a staunch GA supporter, specifically mentioned EAA and compared the experimental aircraft community to the Wright brothers. He also praised EAA AirVenture, which he attends each year.
"As the host region of the largest air show in the world," he said, "I'm proud to support general aviation here and across the country."
Ribble, whose business helped build the Gulfstream hangar's roof before he was elected as Wisconsin's 8th District representative, earned a round of applause after calling the Gulfstream staff "dream builders" rather than airplane builders.
"I am proud of our strong general aviation sector, including manufacturers like Gulfstream that are creating and providing good-paying jobs in my district," Ribble stressed. "The people of northeast Wisconsin are hardworking, honest people and it's the reason that Gulfstream has entrusted them with new ventures."
GAMA, whose members employ more than 1,100 Wisconsinites, has held similar GA jobs rallies in other states throughout the country to show that general aviation is built on individuals and American innovation. The national GA industry contributes more than $150 billion to the U.S. economy annually, including $3.5 billion in Wisconsin, and supports 1.2 million jobs throughout the nation.