12:04 PM

An Exception to my Rule.

Anyone that reads WoF with great regularity knows my political leanings and my distain for anyone in Washington with an “R” after their name. But there is now one HUGE reason for me to exclude Oklahoma Senator James M. Inhofe from that group.

AOPA is reporting on Inhofe's appearance on behalf of GA and AOPA before the Senate Commerce aviation subcommittee. Speaking with conviction as any pilot would if given the chance, Inhofe called the proposed nearly fourfold increase in general aviation fuel taxes "completely unacceptable."

Up front, I want to tell you I know very little about anything else Inhofe as done, and to be sure, I'll bet our opinions on most everything are miles apart across the aisle. But I have to give the Senator a glorious standing ovation for the way he sent his message to Congress:

The fact that Sen. Inhofe, a passionate GA pilot and AOPA member, would stick up for general aviation is not surprising. What is surprising is where he did it. Sen. Inhofe is not a member of the Commerce Committee, and in the gentlemanly world of the Senate, one treads lightly on another's turf. For Inhofe to go uninvited into the committee hearing room and plead for GA meant that he felt so strongly about the issue that he was willing to do what it took to make his point.
Senator Inhofe is working closely with AOPA President Phil Boyer and his staff to keep the pressure from the GA community on the Deciders up on The Hill. In a meeting with the Senator before his subcommittee appearance, Boyer told Inhofe "One of the key points to be made at the hearing is how important it is to take user fees off the table. That way we can have a meaningful debate about the future of FAA funding." As usual, Boyer is right on.

Inhofe is an active commercial, instrument-rated pilot with more than 50 years flying experience, and as a businessman, continues to fly himself regularly to meet his constituents and serve his state. At the hearing, he said:
“GA contributes more than $100 billion annually to the economy, and is one of the few U.S.-based industries making a positive contribution to the country's balance of trade. Why we would consider destroying that is beyond my understanding. But make no mistake, if this proposal is adopted, there will be a dramatic and immediate negative effect on general aviation."
Perfectly chosen words, Senator. I am getting tidbits of information here and there from aopa.org and other sources that tell me the tide is turning slightly in our favor on this issue. AOPA reports that GA has flooded Congress with tons of letters opposing the proposed changes to FAA funding, and it appears from this article that those letters may be having an favorable impact.

We need to keep this fight up. I am personally going to shoot Senator Inhofe a thank you letter right now, and propose you do the same here.

You Might Also Like