TOLEDO, OH - Congressman Dave Camp (R-MI) has been honored for his efforts to foster shipping on the Great Lakes. He was today named Great Lakes Legislator of the Year by the Great Lakes Maritime Task Force (GLMTF), a labor/management coalition that promotes waterborne commerce on the Lakes. Camp will formally receive the award at the Task Force's 12th Annual Briefing for the Great Lakes Delegation in Washington on May 2.
Rep. Camp's district includes significant Great Lakes shoreline and Traverse City, site of the Great Lakes Maritime Academy (GLMA) and the Great Lakes Water Studies Institute at Northwestern Michigan College. In part because of GLMA's presence, Traverse City is home to one of the largest concentrations of merchant mariners on the Great Lakes.
"Cong. Camp is among a small group of Members of Congress who fully appreciate the importance of maritime education and training to our national and commercial security," said John D. Baker, President of GLMTF and of the ILA's Great Lakes District Council. "More and more the officers on Great Lakes vessels are graduates of GLMA."
Rep. Camp also corrected a tax provision that had made U.S.-Flag Great Lakes vessels less competitive when engaged in commerce between the United States and Canada. "Thanks to Congressman Camp's efforts, U.S.-Flag Lakers are bettered positioned to compete in this major segment of Great Lakes shipping," said James H.I. Weakley, 3rd Vice President of GLMTF, and President of Lake Carriers' Association.
While most of his efforts are focused on the present and the future, Rep. Camp co-authored with Michigan Senator Debbie A. Stabenow legislation to preserve and promote Michigan's lighthouses and maritime heritage. The bill (H.R. 3532/S. 1346) created a Federal, State and Local partnership to restore lighthouses in the Wolverine State and promote the maritime culture of the Great Lakes.
"I am truly honored to receive this award," said Congressman Camp. "Great Lakes shipping is critical to Michigan and our nation's economic well-being. Michigan boasts 40 deep-draft ports, more than the other seven Great Lakes states combined. The iron ore that is shipped from Presque Isle and Escanaba feeds our nation's steel mills. The limestone that is loaded in Calcite, Stoneport, Cedarville, Port Inland, and Drummond Island sustains the construction industry throughout the Great Lakes basin. The coal that Lakers deliver to St. Clair, Marquette, Monroe, and other ports keeps our state's utilities turning out power for businesses and homes. Great Lakes shipping is truly an economic lifeline for our state and nation."
The Great Lakes Maritime Task Force was founded in Toledo, Ohio, in 1992 to promote domestic and international shipping on the Great Lakes. 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, port authorities, cargo shippers, terminal operators, shipyards and other Great Lakes interests. Its goals include restoring adequate funding for dredging of Great Lakes deep-draft ports and waterways, construction of a second Poe-sized lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan; protecting the nation's cabotage laws; maximizing the Lakes overseas trade; and opposing exports and increased diversions of Great Lakes water.
Michigan-based members of the Task Force are: CMS Energy (Jackson); Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority (Detroit); Durocher Marine (Cheboygan); Edw. C. Levy Co. (Detroit); Lake Michigan Carferry Service, Inc. (Ludington); Lakes Pilots Association (Port Huron); Luedtke Engineering Company (Frankfort); MCM Marine, Inc. (Sault Ste. Marie); O-N Minerals, Great Lakes Division (Rogers City); Ryba Marine Construction Co. (Cheboygan); Michigan Maritime Trades Port Council, AFL-CIO (Algonac); Pere Marquette Shipping Company (Ludington); Sargent Companies (Zilwaukee); Seafarers International Union of America (Algonac); Soo Marine Supply, Inc. (Sault Ste. Marie); and Wirt Stone Docks (Bay City).
Glen G. Nekvasil
Secretary, Great Lakes Maritime Task Force