AOPA honored Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.) Oct. 10 with the Joseph B. Hartranft Jr. Award—one of the association’s two highest honors—for his unparalleled work on behalf of general aviation in the House of Representatives. The award is presented annually to an elected or appointed government official, whether federal, state, local, or foreign, who has made significant contributions to the advancement of general aviation.
Barrow is the co-chair of the House General Aviation Caucus, and an avid GA supporter who has adamantly opposed user fees. A member of the 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 user fee letter to date. Barrow took it upon himself to personally ask fellow members of Congress to sign the letter. The GA caucus has increased its numbers to include a bipartisan group of 223 members of the House thanks, in part, to the congressman’s recruitment efforts.
In April 2013, Barrow 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; the goal is to advance the safety and continued development of small airplanes by reorganizing the certification requirements to streamline the approval of safety advancements.
In the 112th Congress, Barrow signed multiple letters on behalf of GA issues, including all four letters opposing user fees that were sent to President Obama and the 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 Federal Communications Commission regarding LightSquared and 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 issue contained in 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 United States while still taking into account international obligations. The letter was signed by 65 members of Congress (33 Democrats and 32 Republicans) and stands as a testament to Barrow’s desire to work with members of both parties on issues that could impact the GA community.