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Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Representing the 43rd District of California

H. Res. 1401 - Expressing Gratitude for Air Traffic Controllers

July 28, 2010
Floor Statement
Congresswoman Waters submitted the following statement into the Congressional Record:

"MADAM Speaker, I rise in strong support of H. Res. 1401, expressing gratitude for the contributions that the air traffic controllers of the United States make to keep the traveling public safe and the airspace of the United States running efficiently. I thank my colleague from New York, Ms. McCarthy, for offering this resolution.

Air traffic controllers dedicate themselves to the protection of the flying public.  Their job is important, and it is stressful and demanding.  Air traffic controllers must make split second decisions at times when the lives of hundreds of passengers are in danger.  They perform this work professionally and in doing so provide a great service.

My district in Southern California is home to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), one of the busiest airports in the world. LAX is an economic hub for my district and for the region – it brings people and business to Los Angeles and Southern California from all over the country and the world. LAX is also a job creator for many of my constituents, and this includes the men and women who serve as air traffic controllers, working to keep passengers, aircraft, and area residents safe.

A little more than a year ago, on June 28, 2009, an air traffic controller at the Southern California TRACON facility -- Ron Chappell -- issued a traffic advisory to a jet aircraft landing at LAX after he saw another target on his radar screen at an unknown altitude and approaching the jet.  This response by Mr. Chappell likely averted a deadly crash.  I salute him and his fellow air traffic controllers who work in Southern California and throughout the United States to keep us safe.

I offered an amendment to prohibit consolidation of the Federal Aviation Administration's regional offices and air traffic control facilities without congressional oversight and public comment which was included when the House reauthorized the FAA earlier this year.

I am concerned that consolidation of air traffic control offices and facilities could have an effect on the safety of flying.  In addition, consolidation would result in the loss of many jobs, including jobs of some of my constituents as the Western-Pacific Regional Office which serves all of Southern California is located in Hawthorne – a city in my district.

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association recently presented me the Champion for Aviation Safety Award for my work to protect local jobs in Southern California and to keep passengers and the communities surrounding LAX safe. I truly appreciate this honor and will continue to be a strong advocate for air traffic controllers and passenger safety.

Members of Congress are perhaps some of the most frequent flyers, especially those of us who represent constituencies far away from Washington. We owe air traffic controllers – as well as flight attendants, pilots, ground crew, ticket agents, and others – a debt of gratitude for keeping us and our fellow passengers safe, and for keeping us moving safely and quickly so that we can get back to our constituents and our families in a timely manner.

So I am proud to rise in support of this resolution, Madam Speaker. I thank the gentlelady from New York for offering it, and I yield back the balance of my time." 

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