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Ex-legislator considered for FAA lead role

John Boccieri of Poland, vice wing commander at the Pittsburgh Air Reserve Station and a former state legislator and congressman, is being considered as the next Federal Aviation Administration administrator.

“There’s a whole lot of hurdles to get through, but I would be honored,” Boccieri said.

“The FAA has come through a lot of hurdles over the last couple of years,” he added. “Whoever is the next FAA administrator needs to be someone with a long record of safety.”

Skift, a travel industry news website, first reported Wednesday that Boccieri is among at least four names mentioned as replacing administrator Steve Dickson, who announced his resignation last week, effective March 31.

The others are Deborah Hersman, the former chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board; Bradley Mims, the FAA’s deputy administrator; and Sully Sullenberger, the US Airways hero pilot confirmed in December as the U.S. representative on the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization, according to Skift.

The article quotes Todd Insler, chairman of the United Airlines chapter of the Air Line Pilots Association, as advocating for Boccieri.

Insler said of Boccieri: “His resume shows he is qualified and competent. We need someone who knows the ins and outs of government and the ins and outs of safety.”

The article states the Delta and United pilots are the two largest in the influential pilots union.

Dickson was a former Delta pilot.

In addition to being vice wing commander in Pittsburgh, Boccieri is a United pilot.

Whoever is nominated as FAA administrator has to be confirmed by the Senate.

The pilots union had submitted Boccieri’s name for consideration as FAA administrator after Democrat Joe Biden was elected president in November 2020. But Biden decided to retain Dickson, appointed to a five-year term in August 2019 by Republican Donald Trump, who was president at the time.

Boccieri, a Democrat, was first elected in 2000 to an Ohio House seat, serving until winning a state Senate seat six years later. Boccieri was elected in 2008 to a congressional seat in Stark County and lost re-election two years later.

Boccieri returned to Mahoning County and was later appointed to fill an open Ohio House seat in September 2015. He was elected to a full term in 2016 and then lost a state Senate race two years later to Michael Rulli, R-Salem.

Boccieri received his Air Force commission in August 1994 and served in various capacities with the 910th Airlift Wing at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station in Vienna, including director of the commander’s action group and squadron commander of the unit’s C-130 flying squadrons. He was appointed the 911th Airlift Wing’s vice commander in Pittsburgh in 2010.

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