Come January, Nick Calio will be president of the Air Transportation Association, succeeding current president Jim May. Calio resigned as head of the global lobbying division at Citigroup, where he grew the company’s PAC and political involvement significantly Wednesday.
The tactical hire seemingly puts the association in a good position to have its interests heard in Congress on both sides of the aisle. The former chief Congressional liaison in both Bush Administrations is not only a well-known Republican, he is also respected by top Democrats, including Senate majority leader Harry Reid. A former Democratic lobbyist at Citigroup, who was initially hired by Calio, called the move a “coup” for the ATA, and Reid told Politico, “The ATA is fortunate to have a seasoned hand who understands the importance of finding bipartisan solutions.”
Calio’s top objective will be expanding the association’s political action committee, which he believes will further advance the group’s overall agenda of lobbying for decreased taxes and regulation, and increased infrastructure and access to foreign markets. He will also seek to grow the membership and broaden the group’s international reach.
In a statement to Politico, he explained the need for a strong PAC, saying, ‘“You’ve got to be part of the political process and contributions and political support are part of the political process. When you have people who consistently support you on policy issues, they expect you to be part of their political life support system. It’s just that simple.”’