Stabenow Named Top Lakes Legislator

TOLEDO, OH---Michigan Democratic Senator Debbie A. Stabenow has been named Great Lakes Legislator of the Year by Great Lakes Maritime Task Force, the largest coalition representing the Great Lakes maritime community. The award is presented annually to legislators who best advance the interests of Great Lakes shipping in Congress. Senator Stabenow will receive the award on May 11 at the Task Force's 10th Annual Informational Breakfast for the Great Lakes Delegation in Washington.

"Perhaps no other Senator has ever made more contributions to Great Lakes shipping in their first term than Debbie A. Stabenow," said Daniel L. Smith, President of Great Lakes Maritime Task Force (GLMTF) and National Vice President, Great Lakes, American Maritime Officers. "She has actively supported funding for a second Poe-sized lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway System Study that will determine the waterways' future needs."

"Senator Stabenow has also been a leader in the effort to stop the introduction of non-indigenous species into the Great Lakes from ocean-going vessels," said James H. I. Weakley, 1st Vice President of GLMTF and President of Lake Carriers' Association. "She has authored legislation and sought funding to find a solution to this worldwide problem."

"Michigan is the hub of Great Lakes shipping," said John D. Baker, 2nd Vice President of GLMTF and President of the International Longshoremen's Association's Great Lakes District Council. "The State boasts more deep-draft ports than the other seven Great Lakes States combined. Senator Stabenow understands that what's good for Great Lakes shipping is good for Michigan and has worked to foster policies that benefit both."

"Senator Stabenow believes that free trade must be fair trade," said Patrick J. O'Hern, 3rd Vice President of GLMTF and Vice President and General Manager of Bay Shipbuilding Company. "She supports fair trade in steel, but expects the Federal government to react quickly to illegal dumping. She has stood with American shipyards in their effort to limit the leasing of foreign-built ships to one year. Long-term leases are denying American shipyards the opportunity to build vessels for the Navy."

"I am pleased and proud to be recognized by the Great Lakes Maritime Task Force for my legislative efforts on behalf of the Great Lakes economy," Stabenow said. "The Task Force represents a broad constituency with a great stake in ensuring that we not only use the Lakes wisely, but that we also bolster commerce in the Great Lakes and create jobs. Our most recent challenge is to head off tolls on Great Lakes shipping, and I know we will continue to work together to bring commerce and jobs to our Great Lakes ports."

The Great Lakes Maritime Task Force was founded in Toledo, Ohio, in 1992 to promote domestic and international Great Lakes shipping. It is the largest coalition to ever speak for the Great Lakes shipping community and draws its membership from both labor and management representing U.S.-Flag vessel operators, shipboard and longshore unions, shipyards, and other Great Lakes interests. Its goals include construction of a second Poe-sized lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan; preserving the domestic steelmaking infrastructure; protecting the nation's cabotage laws; maximizing the Lakes overseas trade; increasing funding for annual dredging of ports and waterways; and opposing exports and increased diversions of Great Lakes water.

Previous recipients of the Great Lakes Legislator of the Year Award from Michigan are former Senator and Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham, former Congressman Dave Bonior and current Representatives Bart Stupak and Vernon Ehlers.

Michigan-based members of the Great Lakes Maritime Task Force are: Hathaway & Hathaway (Detroit); Lake Michigan Carferry Service (Ludington); Lakes Pilots Association (Port Huron); Luedtke Engineering Company (Frankfort); Michigan Maritime Trades Port Council (Algonac); Pere Marquette Shipping Company (Ludington); and Seafarers International Union of America (Algonac).

For more information contact:
Glen G. Nekvasil
Secretary, Great Lakes Maritime Task Force