Jan. 29, 2015

California lawmakers recently formed the California Aviation Caucus in order to educate their peers, staff and the public about the many significant contributions of aviation and aerospace to citizens and communities throughout the state. The bipartisan state caucus follows the model established by general aviation (GA) caucuses in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

California state Sen. Jean Fuller founded the aviation caucus, which currently includes seven senators and 10 members of the state Assembly. The caucus is co-chaired by Sen. Fuller and Assemblyman Jim Patterson, with participation open to all state legislators who wish to foster appreciation for aviation in California, and support the growth and development of aviation-related businesses and jobs.

“The caucus will provide an efficient conduit for legislative discussions with stakeholders on how we can support aviation activities that can lead to new jobs, increased economic activity and innovation that will help keep California competitive in this growing industry,” said Fuller. “Additionally, with the support of the members of the Aviation Caucus, we can better prepare students for careers in aviation by providing more technical courses throughout the community college system.”

“I’ve been a private pilot nearly all my adult life and have seen the enjoyment that flying brings first-hand,” added Patterson. “It’s important that Sacramento politicians aren’t oblivious to the economic activity brought to our state by aviation, and I look forward to providing them with that view.”

Additional goals for the newly formed caucus include supporting legislation that creates jobs in the state’s aviation industry and improves transportation between communities within the state and across state boundaries. Caucus members also aim to improve the business climate for aviation-related industries in California.

NBAA frequently participates in activities and events at the state level, encouraging appreciation and support for GA, including business aviation. Last year, NBAA Western Regional Representative Stacy Howard followed up her participation in the annual California Aviation Day with a discussion with Patterson about the vital role the industry plays in his state.

That conversation later resulted in a Fresno-area radio station airing a public service announcement about business aviation’s importance to local economies. Read more about this public service announcement.

Howard said NBAA looks forward to serving as an important resource for caucus members.

“NBAA, on behalf of its Members, is grateful to Sen. Jean Fuller and Assemblyman Jim Patterson for forming the California Aviation Caucus,” said Howard. “We look forward to working with state lawmakers on advocating for general aviation in California.”

The California Aviation Caucus is the latest acknowledgement of the industry’s importance at the state level. Similar caucuses have been established in other states, including: Texas, New Hampshire, Michigan, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Washington, New York and Ohio.