There are some things we would like to have happen, some we really hope will happen, and some that we can help make happen. When we talk of legislative efforts some roll their eyes but there are bills which lead to programs which lead to real improvements at our airports and within our flying community.
Much of the strength of the Washington Pilots Association is our combined voice. If we use the unity of our numbers, we can bring focus on those bills which further our cause and encourage our representatives to support and eventually pass them.
But how? Short of a trip to Olympia or hometown town hall meeting the most effective communication is probably a clear, concise, handwritten letter. Short of that we can communicate with email. While not as impactful, it is easier, faster, and far better than procrastinating or not writing at all.
There are currently 3 measures that we would like to see become bills and wind their way through the halls of Olympia. The first is the Community Aviation Revitalization Loan Program. This program will provide low-income loans to airports with the goal of them becoming financially self-sufficient. They would pursue revenue producing projects and sustain the infrastructure.
The second is the Aviation Fuel Sales Tax Reallocation. Currently fuel sales tax goes to the general fund. By reallocating 1.0% to the Aeronautics Account, airports could leverage federal and local matching funds which would create capital improvement projects that would result in new taxes going back to the general fund.
The third is the Commercial Aeronautics Loan and Loan Forgiveness Program. This program would establish a low interest rate loan program to provide funds to students wishing to pursue a career as a pilot, maintainer, or instructor. Part of the loans would be forgiven if the student stayed and worked in the aviation industry in Washington state.
How can you get word to your legislator that you support (and desire that he or she supports) these programs, both now, and when they become bills?
Step 1 – Go to the WPAflys.org home page. Step 2 – Scroll down to the Advocacy box and click on ‘Learn More’. Step 3 – It will take you to the Advocacy page. The initiatives are listed and may be viewed in full. Click on ‘Look up your representative’. Step 4 – Enter your address. Click on ‘Find my district’. It will tell you your district and who your senator and two representatives are. Step 5 – At the bottom, click on ‘Contact your legislator’. Step 6 – It will take you to a page with all the legislators. Find and click on your legislator’s name. Step 7 – Fill in your address, click ‘Verify District’, then fill in your contact info. If your computer is like mine, it will probably autofill. Step 8 – If this is before these issues become bills, ignore the ‘Bill Number’ box and go down to the Subject and Comment boxes. List the measure as the subject and use the Comment box to indicate your support.
Often these communications are simply tallied up by staffers, but if they tally them by hundreds or thousands, we will begin to move the mountain. If you haven’t done it before, contacting your legislator is like voting and jury duty. A necessary duty of being a citizen and more interesting and fun than you had initially thought it might be.