Two legislators with long, steady histories of backing the United States maritime industry were honored recently in the nation’s capital.
The Shipbuilders Council of America (SCA), the national association representing the U.S. shipbuilding, maintenance, and repair industry, on June 17 presented U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) and U.S. Rep. John Garamendi (D-California) with the SCA Maritime Leadership Award. According to the association, “The award is given annually to national leaders who demonstrate exemplary dedication and support for the U.S. shipbuilding and repair industry.” “The American maritime industry is fortunate to have had Sen. Shelby as a strong advocate in the U.S. Senate throughout his impressive career,” said SCA President Matthew Paxton. “With this award, we recognize Sen. Shelby and his significant contributions and unwavering support for the industry, maritime workers, and the defense sector as he completes his final term.”
As the vice chairman of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, Shelby has been instrumental in support for naval shipbuilding as a critical component of the U.S. defense industrial base. He has also been a strong advocate for the domestic maritime industry as a whole, by voicing his support for the positive impact of U.S. shipbuilding on jobs and the economy throughout the country.
Shelby stated, “I am honored to receive this award on behalf of the Shipbuilders Council of America. The security of the nation must be our top priority, and the maritime industry is a critical part of our national defense. Our shipbuilders provide significant and essential support in the maintenance and modernization of our naval forces, our Coast Guard, and our commercial industry – creating thousands of good-paying jobs and driving economic growth in the process. I look forward to continuing to prioritize the work of our nation’s shipbuilding industry.”
After presenting Garamendi’s award, Paxton said, “Rep. Garamendi has been a strong champion of the Jones Act and U.S. shipbuilding throughout his entire time in Congress. He understands the breadth of the domestic maritime industry and how the industry’s success is critical to our economic and national security, which can most recently be seen in his efforts to ensure the domestic maritime industry has a leading role in the development of offshore wind.”
“I’m honored to receive the 2021 Maritime Leadership Award,” Garamendi said. “Supporting the U.S. maritime industry is critically important for our economy and national security. That’s why I’ve spent my tenure in Congress fighting to end Congressional neglect of our maritime industry by introducing my ‘Energizing American Shipbuilding Act,’ which would recapitalize America’s domestic shipbuilding and maritime industries by requiring increasing percentages of liquified natural gas (LNG) and crude oil exports to be transported on U.S.-built ships. As a senior member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, I will always fight to support our vital maritime industry.”
Garamendi has been a strong proponent of the nation’s shipyard industrial base and American maritime industry as a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and four of its subcommittees, including the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation. In these roles, he advances his “Make it in America” agenda to create new middle-class jobs and rebuild infrastructure using American materials and workers. His role in developing legislation for the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) helped reaffirm Congressional support for the Jones Act and resulted in significant funds being put into the domestic maritime industry.
Garamendi has also been a champion of the defense industry, as well as the country’s veterans and active duty members of the military, during his time serving as the Chairman of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness, which oversees more than one-third of the Department of Defense’s authorization.
Both legislators were given the awards during the SCA annual membership meeting.
SCA members “constitute the shipyard industrial base that builds, repairs, maintains and modernizes U.S. Navy ships and craft, U.S. Coast Guard vessels of all sizes, as well as vessels for other U.S. government agencies. In addition, SCA members build, repair and service America’s fleet of commercial vessels,” the association noted. “The Council represents 40 companies that own and operate over 82 shipyards, with facilities on all three U.S. coasts, the Great Lakes, the inland waterways system, Alaska and Hawaii. SCA also represents 87 partner members that provide goods and services to the shipyard industry.”