NATCA in Washington 2019
"While we are here as 10 separate regions, 
we come together as one voice and one union." 
-- NLC Chair Steve Weidner

NATCA in Washington (NiW) was a huge success, thanks to the more than 450 attendees, including 112 first-timers that took part. They rose to the occasion, climbed Capitol Hill, and advocated for our membership with passion, dedication, and solidarity.

"I've always heard from different Union leaders and members about the great work our Legislative Committee (NLC) does," said first-time attendee James Lovett (Newark ATCT, EWR). "I wondered what it would be like to attend NiW and talk with our elected leaders. At a meeting, Jonesie (his NLC Eastern Region Rep Kristena Jones) convinced me to apply. If I could go and help make a difference this year, it would be great! My experience was everything I hoped it would be. NiW is everything I had been told. I learned a lot, and it was great to help the advocacy agenda for our Union!"
Opening Session
"If we want to continue to be leaders, we need to lean forward in important decisions and not shy away. 
When we shy away, we lose our competitive edge in the world." 
 -- NATCA President Paul Rinaldi

"The way our Union comes together in the midst of a crisis 
is nothing short of amazing."
-- NATCA Executive Vice President Trish Gilbert

NATCA President Paul Rinaldi and Executive Vice President Trish Gilbert welcomed the members to what could be considered the fourth NATCA in Washington of 2019, due to the three rolling lobby weeks held earlier this year during the government shutdown.

They discussed how aviation has been held hostage since 2007, with extensions, sequestrations, threats of shutdowns, and actual  shutdowns. "Too many times we have been put in the middle of disagreeme nts that have nothing to do with aviation," said Gilbert. They discussed the negative effects the recent shutdown had on all aviation safety professionals, staffing, NextGen technology and halted projects, and the safety of the flying public. 

NATCAvists came to D.C. to lobby their members of Congress with a simple ask: prevent another shutdown and the return of sequestration budget cuts. Read more | Watch video
The Ask: H.R. 1108 and S. 762
The ask for this year's NATCA in Washington (NiW) attendees to take into their meetings with members of Congress and their staff members was to support H.R. 1108, the Aviation Funding Stability Act of 2019 and S. 762, the Senate companion bill. If enacted, this legislation would ensure that the aviation system continues to fully operate, without interruption, in the event of a government shutdown by authorizing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to draw from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund (AATF). ( Read industry support letter for H.R. 1108.)

H.R. 1108 was introduced by Reps. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., Chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Committee, and Rick Larsen, D-Wash., Chairman of the House Aviation Subcommittee. The lead Republican on the legislation is Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio, a senior member of the House T&I Committee. This legislation was introduced following the 35-day government shutdown that wreaked havoc on the NAS and its workforce.

The T&I Committee unanimously passed H.R. 1108 on March 27. Since the introduction of the bill, the NLC, NATCA activists, and Government Affairs staff have been aggressively working to encourage members of Congress to sign on as co-sponsors to this important legislation. It has faced hurdles and political challenges, especially among the leadership of the House Appropriations Committee and the House Ways & Means Committee.

Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., a strong supporter of NATCA and the aviation community, introduced S. 762 in March. NATCA supports this bill, which contains identical legislative language. It has its own set of challenges and hurdles, some of which are similar to H.R. 1108.

Thanks to the great work of all of our NATCA activists during NiW, support for both bills grew significantly. H.R. 1108 currently has 186  bipartisan co-sponsors, and S. 762 has 2  bipartisan co-sponsors.
Congressional Speakers
" Aviation is critical in the U.S...12% of the U.S. economy...links us to the rest of the world. And if we didn't have you as aviation safety professionals doing your jobs efficiently, we wouldn't be able to fly
-- Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore.
NATCA in Washington attendees had the honor of hearing from Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., Chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Committee, and Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., a member of the T&I Committee and Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus.

Rep. DeFazio stepped onto the stage to a standing ovation, having introduced H.R. 1108 that would keep the FAA fully funded and operating in the event of a future shutdown. "Thank you for your work, keeping millions of passengers safe on a daily basis," he said. He discussed the bill and  the negative effects of the most recent government shutdown, including the interruption of the advancement in NextGen technologies, and the halting of training at the FAA Academy, which has a trickle-down effect on the workforce and staffing. "This is why H.R. 1108 is important," he said. He encouraged attendees to be open and honest when they meet with their congressional representatives and to share their perspective and experiences during and after the government shutdown. 
" If there is something you strongly believe in, don't assume that your member of Congress knows about it. Pick up the phone and let them know what you're passionate about.
-- Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C.
Rep. Meadows (at left in photo, being greeted by National Legislative Committee Alternate Southern Region Representative Anthony Schifano of North Carolina) delivered positive news when he spoke to the crowd. "I just want to let you know that on my way here, I looked over H.R. 1108 and I've decided to co-sponsor this bill," he said. He told the members to share this information with their congressional representatives, emphasizing the bipartisan support on opposite ends of the aisle. He also spoke to the audience about the importance of them being there on Capitol Hill, letting them know that when members of Congress go to vote, they always put a face with their vote. "We have an opportunity to make sure that good things can happen," he said. He ended his message by encouraging the NATCA attendees to be purposeful about their ask, and to not assume that the representative they're going to meet knows all about the issue "you strongly believe in." Watch video

After the general session of speakers, NiW attendees were now ready for training workshops.
Training Workshops
"Y ou don't always get to play a major role. Sometimes it will be a smaller role, but those roles matter. You may not have been able to come to Washington, D.C. to lobby Congress earlier this year, but your representatives received and made note of the 43,000 emails they received to reopen the government.
-- Richard Kennington, NLC Northwest Mountain Region Rep.

NATCAvists had the opportunity to take part in numerous training sessions, including:
  • Practice the Ask -- Simulated meetings with experienced legislative activists.
  • Congressional Fundamentals -- Teaching the basics and structure of Congress.
  • Congress 101 -- Exploration of relevant committees and the key figures on Capitol Hill important to NATCA.
  • Building Relationships -- Why it will lead to greater progress and providing techniques to accomplish the objective.
  • Social Media and the Hatch Act -- Explaining the Hatch Act and ways to avoid violations.
  • Overcoming Political Differences -- Providing the tools and strategies to be successful when confronted with a tough conversation.
  • Funding the FAA: What You Need to Know -- Explanation of the U.S budgeting process to help clarify the issue.

The members were now equipped and ready to head up to Capitol Hill.

Lobbying Members of Congress on the Hill
"This year was definitely full circle since the shutdown. I initially went into Congresswoman Hill's office to thank the staff for all the hospitality and care for my family and myself throughout the shutdown. I was especially thankful for the invite to be her guest at the State of the Union. I was surprised when I came into her office and was told she was in the office. We sat in her office one-on-one, and I was completely humbled by her easygoing personality.
-- Chrissy Lewis, Joshua Control Facility (JCF)
"The Trish Gilbert  Legislative Activism Award is given to someone who is humble, unassuming, not wanting or needing credit, and always wanting what's best for NATCA."
-- NATCA President Paul Rinaldi
Richard Kennington is pictured holding the 2019 Trish Gilbert Legislative Activism Award with Paul Rinaldi, NLC Chairman Steve Weidner, and Trish Gilbert

National Legislative Committee (NLC) Northwest Mountain Region Representative Richard Kennington (Portland ATCT [PDX] FacRep) was presented with the 
Trish Gilbert Legislative Activism Award during the general session at NiW. The award, established in 2009 and renamed in Gilbert's honor in 2010, is given each year to an activist who has demonstrated the passion to serve the Union through legislative activism and stepped up to do extraordinary work.
Kennington has served on the NLC since 2013. " There are many impressive activists I know that are considered for this award," Kennington said as he accepted his award. "I am truly humbled, and honored, and I look forward to working with all of you in the future." Click here to view a video honoring Kennington.

Previous winners include Trisha Pesiri-Dybvik (2018), Noel Kingston (2017), Steve Weidner (2016), Jason Arnold (2015), Toby Hauck (2014), Mitch Herrick (2013), Betsy Beaumont and AnnMarie Sullivan (2012), Brody McCray (2011), Mark Griffin (2010), and Linda Miller (2009).
In addition, regional legislative activism awards were presented to these members during their respective regional breakout meetings:
Alaskan Region
Dawn McFalls (Merrill Field ATCT, MRI)
Central Region
Jami Davis (Kansas City Center, ZKC)
Eastern Region
Kevin Maney (New York TRACON, N90)
Great Lakes Region
Ron Shonk (Cleveland Center, ZOB)
New England Region
Kevin Coeyman (Boston Center, ZBW)
Northwest Mountain Region
Clay McCarty (Boise ATCT, BOI)
Matt Scala (Denver TRACON, D01)
Southern Region
Stan Parulski (Pensacola TRACON, P31)
Southwest Region
Trevor Barry (Dallas-Fort Worth ATCT, DFW)
Western Pacific Region
Martin Ramirez (Los Angeles Center, ZLA)
Erik Mandt (Oakland Center, ZOA)
Region X
Ed Szczuka (Engineer/Central Region, ECE)

Congratulations to the well-deserving award winners for your legislative activism for your Union. To view the video of the regional winners, please click here.
NATCA Charitable Foundation at NiW
"The money raised will allow us to support  many people in need across the United States.
-- Corrie Conrad, NCF Chair, Portland ATCT (PDX)

Thank you to all the sponsors that supported the NATCA Charitable Foundation's (NCF) NiW events, and to all the members who donated and participated during NiW.  It was a very successful week for NCF. A total of  $21,563  was raised, including $6,300 during a live auction at the opening reception of NiW. One item, a championship belt signed by boxer Floyd Mayweather, sold for $3,500. Attendees increased their regular payroll deduction contributions by a combined total of $10,000. 

To begin or change your automatic donation to NCF through payroll deduction, please click hereIf you would like to learn more about how to support people in your local area, please contact the NATCA Charitable Foundation.
Photo Album
View our complete photo album of NATCA in Washington 2019. Special thanks to our photographers: Peach Baugh, Scott Henrichsen, George Petrovich (retired member), and Jay Tilles (Atlanta Center, ZTL).
NiW Today Book
Our 2019 edition of the NiW Today briefing book provides a comprehensive, 88-page guide to the event, the issues, meeting tips, and key legislative reference material.
Thank YOU!
"Thank you for your work, keeping millions of passengers safe on a daily basis.
-- Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore.
Thank you to everyone who took time out of their schedules, used their personal leave, traveled to our nation's capital, spoke with their members of Congress, and did whatever was asked and needed to make this NATCA in Washington a success. Because of you and your colleagues, our Union is stronger today than it was yesterday. 
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