Rep. Dina Titus (D-1-NV) is attending NBAA's Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA2015) and will speak at today's Opening General Session to welcome attendees to her district. She has a strong record of achievement as a supporter of the nation’s aviation system, having served more than three terms in Congress, where she is a member of the Aviation Subcommittee of the House’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. She also is a member of the House General Aviation Caucus.
Titus’s district includes the Las Vegas convention and tourism industry and McCarran International Airport (LAS), which benefits from her leadership on a variety of aviation issues. This past June she hosted the inaugural Titus Aviation Symposium in Las Vegas to focus the attention of state and local officials, as well as the industry, on ways to attract more aviation business to the state. Her plan is to make the symposium an annual event.
She began her public service in 1988 when she was elected to the Nevada State Senate, and she served as Democratic Minority Leader from 1993 to 2008 before being elected to Congress.
Q: What do you consider the most important principles Congress should keep in mind regarding FAA reauthorization?
A: Both tourism and business aviation are not only key to the prosperity and future growth of Las Vegas, but are also significant to the nation’s overall economy. Congressional support for full federal funding of the FAA is needed to continue implementation of NextGen, to better manage certification programs, and to ensure safe integration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). Perhaps most important, FAA reauthorization needs to reaffirm the need for continued congressional oversight of the nation’s aviation system to maintain the safest and most complex system in the world.
Q: Why did you decide to host a symposium in Las Vegas focused on the future of the aviation industry?
A: I believe that aviation is about jobs. Whether it is building aircraft parts, developing and testing UAS, flying for a local company or an airline, these activities have a profound impact on the entire economy. Members of Congress rarely get an opportunity to have such high-level, in-depth conversations in their home districts, which is why I wanted to organize this unique event. Plans are already underway for the second Titus Aviation Symposium for the summer of 2016, and I hope that NBAA will once again participate and bring your knowledge and expertise to this critical conversation. It is also important to me to continue the legacy of the late Sen. Howard Cannon, a World War II pilot who advocated for aviation in the state and helped affirm the important link between the industry and Nevada’s tourism economy.
Q: Tell us about your work on behalf of promoting Nevada as one of the testing sites for UAS.
A: Southern Nevada has long been the hub for military drone pilots at our local U.S. Air Force bases. Now the region is helping to write the next chapter in unmanned aerial systems, developing commercial and scientific operations. I advocated for Nevada to be selected as an FAA UAS test area, and we have developed sites in Boulder City, Mercury, Fallon and Stead. I also urged FAA officials to move expeditiously to establish regulations for UAS testing in Nevada to ensure that regulators have the necessary data and field testing to support future regulations.
Q: Why do you support efforts to provide flight-training benefits for military veterans?
A: As a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee and Subcommittee on Aviation, I am interested in providing our military veterans with job opportunities in the aviation industry. I joined some of my colleagues and many in the aviation industry, including NBAA, in opposition to language in H.R. 476 that would limit college flight-training benefits for military veterans. I’m concerned that if a cap were put in place, veterans who are interested in using their GI Bill benefits to obtain training to fly helicopters – an important segment of the tourism industry in Nevada – would not be able to afford it. In addition, with a limit of $20,980 per year, this legislation would only worsen the nation’s pilot shortage.
Q: Why are you an active member of the House General Aviation Caucus?
A: I belong to the GA Caucus for the same reason I serve on the Aviation Subcommittee and the Travel and Tourism Caucus: because the aviation industry is essential to our economy. Many people don’t even realize how vital aviation is to our state. More than 52 million travelers pass through McCarran Airport every year, and everything from priceless art to live lobsters are shipped here by air. There is no place quite like Las Vegas, and it is important for my district to be at the table and help share our story with my colleagues in Congress.
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