WASHINGTON — Some of Joe Donnelly’s best memories are tied to being on the water.
The Democratic senator from Indiana thanked the boating industry during a speech at the American Boating Congress today for providing the products that give him those memories, but even more for the jobs it provides.
“When we go home to Indiana we see all the people who work and have good lives … because of what you make,” said Donnelly, co-chairman of the bipartisan Congressional Boating Caucus. “You put it all on the line. I used to run a small business. If no one showed up, you still have bills to pay. You do it every day, every week, every year, and that makes America stronger. So on my end I want to make sure you don’t have pointless regulations. We want to have our waters clean, but it doesn’t make sense for you to do things three and four times.”
Donnelly said the Senate and the House of Representatives show bipartisan support for clean waterways.
“There was an effort to reduce funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Fund. Every single senator from every single state that touches the Great Lakes said we are not in a position to go backward,” Donnelly said.
He also touched on the difficult political climate in Washington.
“Your folks from home are working hard to make sure the normal stuff is getting done,” he said. “The stuff you read in the papers every day doesn’t affect what we do to create jobs, keep rivers and oceans clean and reduce regulations.”
One big effort is to try to increase the skills and talents of young people to help address the boating industry’s workforce shortage. Donnelly said he believes an infrastructure bill will get passed despite the contentious climate on Capitol Hill.
“On tax reform I just want to make sure it’s revenue-neutral,” Donnelly said. “We’re running deficits.”
“You bring so much happiness to people,” he said as he concluded his remarks. “Folks in my state, we’re incredibly grateful for you and all the lives you change.”