Aviation Day at the Capitol

MBAA reps exemplify importance of creating relationships with lawmakers


C.M. Swanson

Mark Knoff of the Minnesota Council of Airports speaks with Representative Paul Torkelson (R) after the representative's keynote speech.

Though there were no burning issues, Executive Director of the Minnesota Business Aviation Association (MBAA) Gordon Hoff knows the wisdom of aviation enthusiasts establishing relationships with legislators.

"It's important that we talk about the importance of aviation every year to our members so if we ever do have some kind of emergency, they know who we are and how to reach out to us," said Hoff. "We can be their resource."

C.M. Swanson

After lunch and a presentation by the keynote speaker, attendees of Aviation Day at the Capitol took time for a group photo for posterity and to inspire other aviation enthusiasts to attend next year's event to meet legislators in person to actively support general aviation in Minnesota.

Hoff noted the importance of stressing to legislators that taxes paid into state airport fund must be allocated to community airport funding whether through the Hangar Loan Program for general aviation aircraft, sealing cracks on runways, or installing a new rotating beacon, or other improvements. He said most senators have at least one airport in their district.

"We want to make sure the airports across Minnesota are well maintained and safe," said Hoff. "Airports are the doorway to the world and to national markets."

Wipaire Marketing Manager Amy Gesch took Hoff's advice by meeting with Senator Dan Schoen (DFL) to deliver an information packet and stress the importance of general aviation's contribution to economic development in Minnesota.

Sen. Schoen, who grew up in Willmar, heartily agreed. He then shared memories of his very practical experience flying with his father in a 1946 J3 Piper Cub when they had to locate cattle that got loose on their farm.

"Thank you for coming in today," Sen Schoen told Gesch. "I appreciate the information you are providing, It's very helpful."


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