Congressman visits Valdosta chamber

Submitted Photo Terry Bennett, Lee McArthur, John Page, Steven Heddon, Congressman Austin Scott, Col. Nick Lacey, retired, and Myrna Ballard discuss chamber concerns.

VALDOSTA – U.S. Rep. Austin Scott joined Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce leaders for a roundtable discussion on policy issues ranging from transportation to military affairs. 

Participants included Lee McArthur, chamber board chairman, Chamber President Myrna Ballard, John P. Page, chairman of the chamber government affairs council, Steven Heddon, chairman of the chamber health care policy committee.

One of the key issues discussed was the chamber’s opposition to the FAA’s so-called “1,500-hour rule.” 

The rule requires new pilots to receive an airline transport pilot certificate attesting that they have 1,500 hours of cockpit training, chamber officials said. It mostly impacts regional – rural – trunk carriers where 1,500-hour pilots are difficult to find and recruit, thus creating a pilot shortage and curtailing regional air service.

Another topic discussed at the meeting pertained to issues surrounding the measurements of the Base Realignment and Closure process, which determines the possibility of a military base closing, chamber officials said. 

Led by Nick Lacey, chairman of the military affairs policy committee on the chamber’s government affairs council, rural broadband and the quality of education at local school systems were discussed. 

"While the two subjects are certainly important from a BRAC standpoint, they are also significant when considering economic development, labor, education and workforce development and health care," chamber officials said.

The congressman was happy to listen to the concerns of the business community. 

“Congressman Scott is very accessible to his constituents,” Ballard said. “He takes the time to listen to the concerns of the business community. These face-to-face discussions with our elected officials are the best way to advocate for our members.”

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