On Day Two of the National Marine Manufacturers Association’s American Boating Congress yesterday, congressional and Biden administration officials, along with industry advocates, spoke about policy and partnerships to the hundreds in virtual attendance.
The Hammond Marine Industry Leadership Award was presented to Bruce Van Wagoner of Wells Fargo Distribution Finance for his service and commitment to boating advocacy. Van Wagoner recently announced his retirement.
The day’s speakers, appearing in quick succession to maximize time in the hour and a half session and many repeating the word “bipartisan,” included Rep. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.-01), Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.-12), Rep. Maria Salazar (R-Fla.-27), U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, Jeff Krause of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.), Senior Advisor to the President and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement Cedric Richmond, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).
The event concluded with industry members offering congratulations to NMMA’s Nicole Vasilaros, senior vice president of government and legal affairs, who is leaving NMMA this week.
Some comments from the day:
• Rep. Pappas speaking about the American Jobs Plan: “The beginning of the conversation is, what are we talking about when we say infrastructure? People have different opinions on what the scope of infrastructure looks like so we have to define that, figure out how much it’s going to cost, how many years we’re going to make those investments and then how we’re going to pay for it.”
• Interior Secretary Haaland: “I look forward to additional conversations in the coming weeks and months to identify opportunities to advance conservation and outdoor recreation. I said during my confirmation that I will fight for every American job, and I mean it.”
• Interior Haaland: “Through funding from the Great American Outdoors Act, Interior will invest $1.6 billion this year to improve transportation and recreation infrastructure in national parks, national wildlife refuges and recreation areas, and at the Bureau of Indian Education schools. This unprecedented investment will support nearly 19,000 jobs and contribute $2 billion to the nation’s gross domestic product this year.”
• Sen. Young: “As we look toward the next phase of recovery, we have an opportunity to seize on these moments and grow our manufacturing sector.” Young also spoke about the bipartisan American Innovation and Jobs Act, which he co-sponsored.
• Presidential advisor Richmond: “The excise taxes that your industry paid last year provided $350 million for critical conservation programs — even boat ramps like the ones I use — and you did that in all 50 states.”
• Presidential advisor Richmond: “We value input — that’s my office’s role. We’re here to help connect you. That’s what I enjoy about this White House and this president, we don’t have a monopoly on good ideas, and we’re willing to hear out other people.”
• Sen. Wicker: “Recreational boating … is really coming into a new phase of huge economic impact. Boat sales reached a 13-year high last year as more than 300,000 boats were sold. … And it’s truly an American industry. Nineteen out of 20 boats sold around the world were made right here in the United States.”
Soundings Trade Only is a co-host of ABC.