House and Senate General Aviation Caucus members are recruiting new leadership with three of the four co-chairmen set to leave Congress when the current term ends on January 3. The midterm elections last month cost the seats of both the House and Senate Democrat co-chairs, while the Senate Republican co-chair didn’t run for re-election.
That leaves Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) as the sole returning co-chairman of the GA Caucuses. Graves, one of the chief general aviation advocates in Congress, already has begun to reach across the aisle to seek a successor to Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.). Meanwhile, Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) began fielding possibilities for a successor to his caucus seat shortly after announcing his retirement. That effort is broadening since Senate Democrat Co-Chair Mark Begich (Alaska) conceded his race in mid-November.
Despite the leadership changes, general aviation groups believe the caucuses will remain strong in the new Congress. With three races still not called, 224 of the 254 House caucus members are set to return, safely above the “magic” number necessary for a majority vote, NBAA vice president of government affairs Dick Doubrava told AIN. In the Senate, about 33 of the 40 caucus members are returning, and some incoming senators were caucus members in the House.