Aviation Interests Deluge State Capitol
Oklahoma lawmakers just don't know enough about the state's $12
billion aviation economy. That's what aviation industry leaders in
the Sooner State are saying. So swarms of lobbyists flooded the
fourth floor of the state capitol Tuesday, hoping to shed a little
light on one of the state's driving economic forces.
"This industry largely goes underneath the radar screen," said
Vince Bird, director of the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission. "It
hasn't come up here and asked for a lot of things, and there is no
statewide association, as of yet, as far as representing the entire
industry." Bird was quoted in the Daily Oklahoman.
Representatives from 27 aerospace companies and support
organizations filled the corridor between the Oklahoma House and
Senate, pumping flesh and hoping to make a good -- lasting --
"It's during the legislative session, so legislators are very
busy. But by bringing this to them, they're a captive audience,"
Bird said. "As they walk out of their chambers and offices, they're
going to be somewhat exposed. I hope we'll be able to communicate
to the Legislature and other statewide elected officials that this
industry is really vital and critical to the well-being of the
And, yeah, they did a little marketing.
"We have talked to some people in the industry who are local and
were not aware that we are here or were not aware of the extent of
our capability," said Teresa Roewe, chief financial officer at Jet
Service Enterprises, a Bethany (OK) company that services jet
aircraft from all over the country.
"We want the Legislature to see what we can do for the industry
in our state," said Carl Hatlelid, project director at The Center
for Aircraft Systems/Support Infrastructure. "Also, while we've
mainly worked with the federal government in the past, we are
interested in supporting all of the aviation in our state."