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Midterm Elections Have Ripple Effect
GA Caucus, Santa Monica Airport affected by voting
November 6, 2014 – Tuesday’s midterm congressional elections will, as always, cause changes to the roster of Capitol Hill lawmakers who understand and support general aviation issues. Most notable will be some changes to the House and Senate GA Caucus leadership.
Among the changes are the losses of Rep. John Barrow (D-GA) and Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK), who were the Democratic co-chairs of the House and Senate GA Caucuses, respectively. In addition, Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) – another supportive voice for GA in the Senate – did not seek re-election.
“The GA Caucus has developed into an essential body of lawmakers who pay attention to and are involved in general aviation issues, so it is important to have strong leadership within this group,” said Doug Macnair, EAA’s vice president of government affairs. “EAA will join other GA groups in actively recruiting and welcoming returning and incoming lawmakers to be a part of this bipartisan body when the new Congress convenes in January.”
Meanwhile, voters in Santa Monica, California, dealt a setback to Santa Monica Municipal Airport (SMO) advocates by deciding against a ballot measure that would put local voters in control of the airport’s future rather than the city council. Instead, voters approved a competing city council-backed measure that, if the airport would be closed, limits the use of the land to parks, recreation, and open space. Under that initiative, if any other type of development was to occur, voter approval would be required.
Despite the unfavorable outcome for airport proponents, SMO is not at risk of immediate closure. The city council must still address legal challenges stemming from federal grant obligations and federal land use guarantees stipulating that the airport’s land must be used for aeronautical purposes into perpetuity, unless explicitly released by the federal government.