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MIA Congressional Visit

Aug. 26, 2016 // NiW 2016: Legislative Efforts Continue at Home

NATCA in Washington 2016 was a huge success and individual efforts to be strong advocates for this great Union continue at facilities throughout the country.

Miami Tower and TRACON (MIA) FacRep Billy Kisseadoo along with MIA controllers Brian Lenz and Kevin Dougherty met with Congressman Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., recently to discuss issues important to NATCA.

MIA Congressional Visit
Pictured from left to right: Kisseadoo, Congressman Murphy, Lenz, and Dougherty.

On Aug. 16, Washington Center (ZDC) controllers met with Congresswoman Barbara Comstock, R-Va., where she toured the control center and witnessed the critical work air traffic controllers do on a daily basis. Area 6 Rep Aaron Wilt, ZDC FacRep Brian Shallenberger, Air Traffic Manager Kelly Brown, Legislative Activist Pat Hurley, and NATCA member and constituent Tom Mauro were all there to greet the Congresswoman and answer questions.

“It takes immense attention to detail and dedication to go to work at the Washington Center and ensure each flight gets to its destination safely and efficiently and we saw firsthand the technology these air traffic controllers use to succeed in that mission,” she said in a Facebook post detailing the event.

Washington Center Congressional Visit
Pictured from left to right: Wilt, Shallenberger, Congresswoman Comstock, Brown, Hurley, and Mauro.

Congressman Bill Keating, D-Mass., hosted an event on Nantucket Island last Friday evening to meet with local constituents and speak about current events. There were many additional members of Congress present at this event to lend their support to Congressman Keating including House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., Congressman John Larson, D-Conn., and Congressman Mike Doyle, D-Pa.

Nantucket Tower controller Carrie Cassano and New England Region Legislative Rep Andre Jean represented NATCA at the event. They spoke with members of Congress in attendance on the many issues important to NATCA, including the effects of low staffing and the need for stable funding of the National Airspace System (NAS).

KeatingCassanoJean Nantucket Congressional Visit
Pictured from left to right: Cassano, Congressman Keating, and Jean.

Last Thursday, Burlington ATCT (BTV) FacRep David Schmitz gave a facility tour to legislative aide Megan McNamara from the office of Congressman Peter Welch, D-Vt. McNamara advises the Congressman on transportation issues. Facility tours like this are a great way to build relationships with members of Congress and educate them on the service air traffic controllers provide to the public.

McNamara had never been on a tour of a facility before, so Schmitz explained to her how the National Airspace System (NAS) works and the service that BTV provides to the residents of Vermont. While on the tour, Schmitz also brought up the low staffing numbers across the country and the need for stable and predictable funding of the NAS.

New England Region Legislative Rep Andre Jean and Boston Tower FacRep Mick Devine recently attended an event for Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, D-Mass., with guest speaker House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md. It was a fun event and Hoyer gave attendees a great update on what was going on in Washington, D.C.

Hoyer briefed attendees on Congresswoman Tsongas’ work in Congress, the upcoming elections, and the possible actions Congress will take regarding the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. While there, Devine and Kean were able to talk to both members of Congress about issues important to NATCA, like staffing shortages and stable funding of the NAS.

Tsongas Jean and Devine
Pictured from left to right: Jean, Congresswoman Tsongas, and Devine.

Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster recently hosted her annual Labor Community Happy Hour in Concord, N.H. NATCA was in attendance, represented by Boston TRACON FacRep Curt Fischer, Boston Center controller Jay Bowers, and New England Legislative Rep Andre Jean. The Congresswoman gave a great update on the latest in Washington, D.C., and on her campaign. Afterwards Fischer, Bowers, and Jean had a chance to speak with her about several issues facing NATCA, including the staffing shortage and stable funding for the NAS. They also thanked her for her support on H.R. 5292 and the FAA funding extension.

Kuster Visit
Pictured from left to right: Jean, Congresswoman Kuster, Fischer, and Bowers.

Congressman Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., recently visited Albuquerque Center (ZAB) at the invitation of NATCA. ZAB Vice president Dr. David Bricker facilitated the visit.

Congressman Lujan visited the facility with two staffers, Patrick Duran and Joseph Casados. Air traffic manager Frank McIntosh and Dr. Bricker gave a briefing to Congressman Lujan, Mr. Duran, and Mr. Casados about the facility and the operation. Mr. McIntosh and Dr. Bricker took the Congressman and his staffers through the control room, beginning with an introduction to the Operations Manager, a tour through the Traffic Management Unit, and a walkthrough of all five areas at the facility.

After the control room visit, Dr. Bricker and two other NATCA representatives, ZAB Safety Rep Nate Johns and East Area Rep Derek Bray, visited with Congressman Lujan and his staffers. Discussion centered on staffing at the facility and the efforts to move Santa Fe airport from ZAB airspace into Albuquerque Approach’s airspace.

Congressman Lujan
Pictured from left to right: Johns, Dr. Bricker, Congressman Lujan, and Bray.

Congressman James Langevin, D-R.I., hosted his annual “Evening at Fenway Park” event where he met with constituents and other members of his community. Legislative Rep Andre Jean and Providence ATCT controller Jim Dunlap represented NATCA at this New England Region event. Jean and Dunlap had a good discussion about staffing and the recent FAA funding extension. Congressman Langevin was one of the many members of Congress that co-sponsored H.R. 5292 and they were able to thank him for his support on that legislation.

Langevin Collage

Pictured top left: Congressman Langevin.
Pictured bottom left: Jean, Congressman Langevin, and Dunlap.
Pictured right: Dunlap and Jean.

Houston Center controller Johnny Temple recently represented NATCA at an event hosted by Congressman Al Green, D-Texas. Several unions were represented at the event where Congressman Green gave a presentation on several policy issues including his strong support of labor, saying that good paying jobs are what the American dream is all about. After the presentation, Temple was able to speak with the Congressman about several issues facing NATCA.

Congressman Green
Congressman Green (left) and Temple.
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