Airport Board Honors Rafferty

Public service is habitual to Hugh Rafferty and Thursday night the Santa Maria Public Airport District Board of Directors honored him for his four years of work.

Rafferty finished fourth Nov. 6 in the race for three four-year terms — incumbents Don Lahr and Chuck Adams along with challenger David Baskett won the seats.  Also Nov. 6, Carl Engel Jr. was elected to a two-year term created by the death of board member Ted Eckert.  Currently serving on the board, Engel ran for the two-year seat instead of seeking re-election to a longer term.  Rafferty was the top vote-getter in the 2008 general election which also placed Adams and Engel on the board.

On Thursday night, Rafferty’s last board meeting, the board members and airport staff recognized his efforts.  “He’s been a great director to work with here at the airport. We hope he runs again,” said General Manager Chris Hastert.

Rafferty credited Hastert and his fellow board members with accomplishing a lot in the past four years.  “The two big things were the runway extension that brought a lot of money into the city in terms of construction and the flights to Hawaii, which will really stand out to the community,” Rafferty said.

He also noted several less obvious accomplishments for the board including: establishing minimum standards which will apply to all tenants and construction projects; reopening fuel service for private pilots; improving the instrument landing system; and improving customer amenities like the parking lot and its lighting.

“There’s a lot of things that have happened over the last four years. We’ve done a lot. I think we’re extremely fortunate in having Chris Hastert as an airport manager. He’s really done a lot to move this airport along a lot farther than I thought it would go,” he said.

Rafferty won’t exactly be sitting at home with nothing to do.  He is president of the Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association, he is on the Committee to Improve North County, chairman of Coast Hills Federal Credit Union board of directors, Judge Advocate of the Coast Valleys Detachment 1340 of the Marine Corps League, and he just completed four years on Hancock College Measure I Citizens’ Oversight Committee.

He said he’ll miss working with the airport staff and the board, but expects good things in the future.  “They’ve got a good board. I think Dave (Baskett) will do a good job there,” Rafferty said, adding he’s not done yet. “I definitely intend to go back and attend the meetings. I will definitely run again.  In two years we have another election coming up and my name will be on the ballot.”

December 1, 2012  By Brian Bullock / Staff Writer / bbullock@santamariatimes.com

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