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LI man's Aviation Act in Congress' hands

Adam Sackowitz suggested federal legislation to make Long

Adam Sackowitz suggested federal legislation to make Long Island's historical aviation sites part of the National Park Service. He's pictured July 27, 2012. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Adam Sackowitz, a 20-year-old Hofstra University American studies major, took a trip to the nation's capital last week, but it wasn't for summer sightseeing.

Sackowitz traveled to Washington on Tuesday to see his brainchild, the Long Island Aviation Act, a bill that seeks federal recognition for Long Island's contribution to the nation's aviation history, formally introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola).

"I really wanted to go to Washington," Sackowitz said. "Just five minutes from my house is where Charles Lindbergh took off from to go to Paris. When he gets back, he's the most famous man in the world."

Sackowitz first proposed the idea of formal recognition of Long Island's historically significant aviation sites in November 2011, when he wrote to the president of Hofstra.

He was encouraged to write to a local state senator, but was told he needed to get the attention of his representative in Congress, McCarthy.

In February, Sackowitz said he penned a proposed bill, asking the Department of the Interior to evaluate Long Island's aviation history sites for possible inclusion on the National Park Service's list of historic sites.

To boost his argument, Sackowitz, of Westbury, listed Long Island's potential sites, including Roosevelt Field, from where Lindbergh's plane took off; Grumman Corp. of Bethpage, where NASA's lunar lander was built; and Port Washington, once the trans-Atlantic hub for Pan American Airways.

Sackowitz, a part-time employee of the National Park Service who works as a park guide at Sagamore Hill, said he touched base with McCarthy's office every week to gauge the congresswoman's interest. He said he heard news of his success only last week, when McCarthy announced that she intended to introduce the legislation and later issued a news release explaining Sackowitz's role in the bill.

"I'd like to thank my constituent Adam Sackowitz for bringing this great idea to my office's attention," McCarthy said in the release.

On Monday, Sackowitz was told that if he could be in Washington on Tuesday, he could witness the legislation being handed to the House Clerk, making it eligible to be considered by Congress.

The bill -- which still has a long way to go -- if passed, would give the Department of the Interior three years to complete a special resource study and make recommendations to Congress on how best to preserve the aviation sites.

Despite the sting of a high-priced airline ticket for a last-minute trip to Washington, Sackowitz said the lessons he has learned from the experience are invaluable.

"One person can really make a difference," he said late last week. "Give it your best and be patient."

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