Last week, I shared my thoughts and vision with you regarding the absolute importance of having an active and engaged NATCA membership. As I previously mentioned, our region is the most active region in NATCA. Activism isn’t something that just magically happens, it’s something that you have to cultivate, develop, and plan for in every aspect as a Regional Vice President. My entire team understands my vision for activism and getting as many members educated, engaged, and empowered to step up and take ownership of their local, their region, and their union.

Having spent this week with many first timers at NATCA in Washington, where we educate and develop relationships with members of Congress, I can tell you that the energy and passion of our first timers was off the chart. Many left this event commenting about how wonderful an experience it was and that they would definitely be coming back. As federal employees, in a highly demanding profession, developing effective and trusting relationships with members of Congress is an absolute necessity. We must remember that we are in a highly specialized field and that we must do everything within our power to educate the members of Congress on existing challenges and the many challenges we are going to face with upcoming funding and sequestration uncertainties and discussions on privatization, etc.

When I attended my first NATCA in Washington over 20-years ago, I saw first hand the importance of providing subject matter expertise to members of Congress on issues facing the National Airspace System. However, what I quickly realized was that we must develop relationships beyond the yearly visit to the hill to meet with our legislators. For us to truly succeed, we need to develop personal relationships and build trust with our legislators and their staff so they feel confident that we are advocating for the safest and most efficient airspace system in the world.

My vision for legislative activism in the Western Pacific region continues to be educating, inspiring, and empowering our new legislative activists through supporting their attendance at NATCA in Washington, Basic Legislative Activism course, mentorship with the regional legislative team and attendance at in-district events for members of Congress. In addition, I will continue to strongly assist our regional legislative team’s continued cultivation and development of trusting relationships with our legislators.

This is why I am so happy and proud of the work that our regional legislative team has done and will continue to do as we prepare to deal with some very serious challenges such as sequestration, FAA reauthorization including FAA funding and structural changes, anti-federal employee legislation, contract negotiations, etc. Rest assured that the regional legislative team and I stand ready to fight for all of us to ensure that we continue to receive the highest level of legislative representation possible.

As always, if you would like to become part of this region’s legislative activism, please feel free to reach out to our Regional Legislative Lead Trish Pesiri-Dybvik, any member of the regional legislative team, or myself.

Re-Elect Hamid Ghaffari for Western-Pacific Regional Vice President