The Rural Air Service Alliance (RASA) was formed in response to continued attacks on small town transportation and provides a unified, grassroots voice on the issues of air service for rural communities. Small and rural communities rely on access to air service to recruit new industry, connect with their government, attract visitors, provide vital medical facility access, and to maintain economic growth and a high quality of life. We believe that transportation to small and rural communities is not only important for those communities, but is a key component of the future economic development of this country as a whole.
Advocate for small and rural communities and ensure they have a voice and the ability to shape debate over how they stay connected to the global transportation system.
Our Areas of Focus
- Protect and reform the Essential Air Service (EAS) program and the funding it needs;
- Increase participation by communities in addressing their air service issues and provide greater flexibility in doing so;
- Arrange for the necessary framework to efficiently and effectively utilize EAS funding while ultimately attracting self-sustaining, unsubsidized air service;
- And make sure that the way the Federal government helps small communities address air service concerns keeps pace with the changes in the industry.
As these and any other challenges present themselves, RASA advocates for rural air and provides a voice for the small communities that depend on it.
BRIAN SOWA – Executive Director
Mr. Sowa has built a strong policy and political background in his years on Capitol Hill. Before entering the private sector in 2005, Mr. Sowa served as Senior Legislative Assistant to Congressman John E. Peterson of Pennsylvania’s Fifth Congressional District, a member of both the Committee on Appropriations and the Committee on Resources.
As Chairman of the Rural Caucus, Congressman Peterson was the leading advocate for the Essential Air Service (EAS) program in the House; Mr. Sowa, as his transportation staffer, became an expert on rural transportation issues and in particular EAS. Mr. Sowa led efforts to not only increase the amount of funding for the EAS program but also successfully pushed back proposals that would have severely limited the program in the 2004 FAA Reauthorization bill. Working with other advocates of the program from industry, local communities, and non-profits, Mr. Sowa drafted numerous bills and amendments to ensure the viability of the EAS program while blocking the costly local cost share provision that was proposed by the Bush Administration.
Mr. Sowa is the author of the several other legislative measures, including the Oil Region National Heritage Area Act, and the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program Extension and Reform Act of 2005, both of which were signed into law, as well as many amendments dealing with energy, transportation and technology issues. He has been involved in consideration of a diverse set of legislative items including the 2004 FAA Reauthorization Act, the Highway Reauthorization Bill of 2005, and the 2005 Energy Policy Act, as well as Annual Budget and Appropriations Bills.
Mr. Sowa has combined his experiences with Congressional legislative process and political strategy, as he served as the Northwest Pennsylvania 72 Hour Task Force Director on the Bush-Cheney 2004 Presidential campaign, in addition to other Senatorial, Congressional and State campaigns.
Prior to working on Capitol Hill, Mr. Sowa served four years in the United States Marine Corps Reserves and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance from Clarion University of Pennsylvania.
As Senior Director of Communications for Keystone Public Affairs, Elizabeth Fassbender provides messaging strategy, social media expertise, government relations support, and online advocacy campaign development for clients in the transportation and energy industries.
Previously, Elizabeth served for three years at Strategic Marketing Innovations (SMI) where she lead the firm’s new media strategy and supported SMI’s federal marketing, lobbying strategies and government outreach. Elizabeth also managed the firm communications efforts and prepared issue and legislative briefings for clients on transportation and energy issues.
Prior to her position at SMI, Elizabeth worked at the Podesta Group in their appropriations practice. There, she tracked and analyzed congressional appropriations requests, processes and issues for clients, covered Congressional hearings and conducted market research. Elizabeth also assisted in fundraisers, political communication, and organized events at the Democratic National Convention in 2008. Additionally, Elizabeth worked for the Murtha for Congress Campaign in Johnstown, Pennsylvania as well as the district offices of Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin.
Throughout her career, Elizabeth has established herself as an expert in social media and online communication. As the owner and editor of a DC area lifestyle blog, she has been featured in publications including The Washington Post, Northern Virginia Magazine, Washingtonian Magazine, and more. Elizabeth was nominated by The Washington Post as a top twitter personality and was named one of 10 bloggers to watch in 2012 by Washingtonian Magazine. She is also a frequent contributor to a variety of blogs.
A native of Madison, Wisconsin, Elizabeth graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies and a minor in History of Philosophy from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.
In his law practice, Alex represents a broad spectrum of technology-based companies, advising them in contracts, development of technology rights, employment matters, business strategy and execution, acquisitions and sales, licensing of University- and company-developed intellectual property, technology transfer, litigation, and software development issues. He has negotiated, drafted and documented countless agreements and contracts, covering everything from commercial and residential real estate sales to Marcellus Shale land leases through wills and trusts.
Alex is also an experienced business executive who has served in many senior management positions, including CEO, Vice President of Sales, Vice President of Business Development, and in-house General Counsel, for companies across the technology and transportation industries. In his various positions, Alex worked with companies based on traditional software, e-commerce, image recognition software for traffic and vehicle management, advanced materials, IT services, electronic devices and life science technologies. He has broad experience negotiating mutually beneficial agreements, strategic relationships, complex sales, fundraising and financing, marketing strategy, product management, recruiting, training, project management, channel strategy and management, and intellectual property licenses and strategy.
Throughout his career, Alex has been active in political and community affairs, serving on several political campaigns and as a policy analyst intern at the White House. He has a long record of public service, including serving as an artillery officer in the Army Reserve and National Guard, on township and school district boards, as a deacon and elder of his church, and as a board member and four-time president of his local Lions club.
Alex holds a Juris Doctor degree from Georgetown, where he was on Law Review, and a Political Science degree from Duke.