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Garamendi: ‘Yes We Can’ Have a Strong U.S.-Flag Fleet


US Rep John Garamendi (D-CA) reiterated his strong support for all aspects of the U.S.-flag maritime industry during his acceptance address as the International Propeller Club of the United States’ “Salute to Congress” Award recipient on April 23.

Speaking in Arlington, Virginia, before an audience several hundred strong with representatives from American maritime unions (including MTD President Michael Sacco), U.S.-flag ship owners, domestic shipbuilders, military officers and government officials, Garamendi said he wants to look to the future to see “American-built ships with American sailors. We can do that!”

As the ranking member of the House Coast Guard and Marine Transportation Subcommittee, he noted it should be Congress’ “goal to get cargo for U.S.-flag ships.” He added the time is now to take advantage of America’s energy resurgence so exports of U.S. petroleum and liquefied natural gas would be carried aboard U.S.-flag vessels with American-citizen crews.

Referring to the need to build more ships domestically, he asked, “Can we compete with China, Korea and Japan? Sure we can!”

Garamendi, who addressed the 2013 MTD Convention, declared “the Jones Act absolutely essential – critical in every way!”

He spoke of his wife’s work overseas to help others in need when he brought up support for the Food for Peace Program.

The California legislator said the U.S. Agency for International Development is “wrong-headed” when it wants to substitute for dollars for actual food. “We cannot guarantee that it (cash) will turn into food.”

He praised the long-standing coalition of farmers, transportation workers and maritime interests that have made the Food for Peace Program the nation’s most successful foreign aid campaign.

In closing, Garamendi invoked the memory of the late United Farm Workers President Cesar Chavez by declaring “Si Se Puede! Yes we can! The will to get this done exists.”

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