AOPA Summit: Rep. John Barrow recognized

FORT WORTH, Texas — U.S. Congressman John Barrow (D-Ga.) is the 2013 recipient of the Joseph B. Hartranft Jr. Award, one of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s highest honors, for his work on behalf of general aviation (GA) in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Joseph B. Hartranft Jr. award is presented annually to an elected or appointed government official who has made significant contributions to the advancement of general aviation.

Barrow is the democratic co-chair of the House General Aviation Caucus and an avid GA supporter who has adamantly opposed user fees.

“Having GA supporters such as Rep. Barrow on Capitol Hill has really changed the calculus for the general aviation community,” said Mark Baker, AOPA’s president and CEO. “Rep. Barrow understands that GA connects the nation and brings economic vitality to thousands of American communities. His actions in Congress go to the heart of AOPA’s mission: Protecting the freedom to fly. It is our good fortune to have Rep. Barrow in our corner and we are honored to recognize him with this well-deserved award.”

A member of the GA Congressional Caucus since it was founded in 2009, Barrow and leaders of the House Aviation Subcommittee spearheaded the effort to garner support for a letter opposing the inclusion of aviation user fees in the President’s fiscal year 2014 budget. This letter received an overwhelming response, gathering 223 signatures, the highest number of any Congressional letter opposing user fees to date.

Barrow took it upon himself to personally ask fellow members of Congress to sign the letter. Since the start of the 113th Congress, the GA Caucus has increased its numbers to include a bipartisan group of 226 members of the House thanks, in part, to Barrow’s efforts, according to AOPA officials.

Barrow’s work on behalf of GA extends beyond fighting user fees. In April 2013 he voted in favor of the Reducing Flight Delays Act of 2013 to end air traffic controller furloughs and give the FAA enough flexibility to keep 149 air traffic control contract towers open past the June closure deadline. He sought out and considered AOPA’s thoughts and concerns regarding the planned closure of air traffic control contract towers nationwide.

Most recently, he has worked with GA stakeholders to join as a co-sponsor of the Small Aircraft Revitalization Act of 2013, which will advance the safety and development of small airplanes by streamlining certification requirements.

In the 112th Congress, Barrow signed multiple letters on behalf of general aviation issues, including all four letters opposing user fees that were sent to President Barack Obama and a budget-cutting Super Committee. Barrow also signed a letter to Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in support of the Block Aircraft Registration Request (BARR) program, two letters to the FCC regarding LightSquared and possible GPS interference, and a letter to House leadership regarding GA aircraft depreciation.

He also co-sponsored legislation that would require the FAA administrator to carry out a program to safely and feasibly address piston engine aircraft emissions.

In May 2010, Barrow took a leadership role on the foreign repair station oversight portion of the FAA Reauthorization bill. He circulated a letter to his colleagues urging support of the Senate’s provision in the FAA bill as the best way forward in addressing reforms in the aviation maintenance industry and protecting jobs in the U.S. while still taking into account our international obligations. The letter was signed by 65 members of Congress and stands as a testament to Barrow’s desire to work with members of both parties and bring true bipartisanship to issues that affect the general aviation community, AOPA officials said.

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