Whether meeting with freshmen legislators or longtime friends of the industry, participants in the eighth annual Maritime Congressional Sail-In brought a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm to Capitol Hill on March 1.
The SIU turned out in force for the critical event, which features teams of maritime industry representatives gathering throughout the day with House and Senate members and their respective staffs. Those groups explained solid rationale for supporting the Jones Act, the U.S. Maritime Security Program (MSP), cargo preference laws, American shipbuilding, and U.S. crews.
The SIU participants included Executive Vice President Augie Tellez; Vice President Government Services Kermett Mangram; Vice President Lakes and Inland Waters Tom Orzechowski; Vice President West Coast Nick Marrone; Vice President Atlantic Coast Joseph Soresi; Legislative Director Brian Schoeneman; and Port Agents Joe Baselice, Elizabeth Brown, Mark von Siegel and Pat Vandegrift.
Altogether, there were 92 Sail-In participants, including representatives from every major seafaring union; every USA Maritime member company and association; a number of Jones Act companies and organizations; three state maritime academies; the Navy League of the United States; the AFL-CIO Maritime Trades Department; and the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department.
Those individuals were divided into 23 groups that took part in 131 meetings in the nation’s capital. There were 102 meetings in the House and 29 in the Senate. Significantly, 24 of the meetings were with House freshmen, while three of the Senate gatherings also were with newly elected legislators.
As usual, much of the effort was directed to members of key committees that affect the maritime industry. For instance, meetings took place with seven of the 11 members of the House Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee or their staff, and with nine of the 17 members on the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee or with staff.
Similarly, meetings took place with a majority of legislators or staff from the House Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, the Senate Seapower Subcommittee, the House Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee, and the Senate Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Subcommittee.
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On behalf of our entire organization, particularly our rank-and-file members, we extend our sincere thanks to you for spending time with our Sail-In groups on March 1. Whether you’re just getting acquainted with the American maritime industry or you’ve long been familiar with our importance to U.S. national and economic security, we appreciate your time and your interest.
The U.S. Merchant Marine has a centurieslong record of reliable service to our country. Whether our civilian mariners are transporting commercial cargoes or delivering the goods for our troops anywhere in the world, we pride ourselves on professionalism, dedication and patriotism.
Our industry contributes billions of dollars each year to the U.S. economy, accounts for hundreds of thousands of American jobs, and plays a key role in homeland security. We’re proud to uphold the mantle described by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as America’s fourth arm of defense.
Thank you again, and please know we are always available to discuss the American maritime industry.
Last but not least, we also thank and congratulate our fellow participants from other maritime unions, shipyards, vessel-operating companies, coalitions and other associations who teamed up to make the annual event successful.