When members of Michigan’s aviation industry visited the state Capitol for an aviation day event on March 15, the activities took place against a supportive backdrop: Both houses of the state legislature had approved resolutions that recognize the industry’s key role.
The Michigan Aviation Day at the Capitol in Lansing was hosted by the Michigan Business Aviation Association, and supported by the Michigan Association of Airport Executives and AOPA.
The event took place during a week designated by state House and Senate resolutions as Aviation Week. The resolutions were presented by Rep. Jim Tedder (R-District 43), and Sens. Wayne Schmidt (R-District 37) and Goeff Hansen (R-District 34).
More than 60 lawmakers attended the session, at which the guest speaker was Christa Fornarotto, vice president of government affairs of the National Business Aviation Association, according to the Michigan Business Aviation Association. The association reported a strong aviation day turnout.
The group’s president, John Hatfield, also spoke, noting the accomplishments of the organization over the past year.
Michigan Aeronautics Commission Executive Administrator Mike Trout joined in highlighting the significant contribution of aviation to the state of Michigan, where—as noted by both House and Senate resolutions—the general aviation system of 234 public-use airports, 13,550 pilots, and 6,500 aircraft contributes $19 billion annually to the economy.
“AOPA has worked closely with the Michigan Business Aviation Association and Michigan Association of Airport Executives on a variety of legislative initiatives, including most recently a dedicated funding stream for Michigan’s general aviation airports,” said Jared Esselman, AOPA director of state government affairs.
Bryan Budds, AOPA Great Lakes regional manager, added, “Telling the story of general aviation is critical. Having well-established and strong relationships with lawmakers is key to our advocacy efforts, especially during a busy legislative session.”