Campaign News

March 28, 2022

Kilmer, Wittman Launch Bipartisan Public Shipyard Caucus

Office of Rep. Derek Kilmer announcement.

On March 25, U.S. Representatives Derek Kilmer (WA-06) and Rob Wittman (VA-01) announced the creation of the bipartisan Public Shipyard Caucus – whose original membership includes Reps. Ed Case (HI-01), Joe Courtney (CT-02), Kaialiʻi Kahele (HI-02), Elaine Luria (VA-02), Chris Pappas (NH-01), Chellie Pingree (ME-01), and Bobby Scott (VA-03). The Caucus was founded to support the nation’s four public shipyards – Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Virginia, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Maine, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility in Washington, and Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility in Hawaii – which are responsible for repairing and retrofitting the U.S. Navy’s aircraft carriers and submarines.

The Public Shipyard Caucus is the only congressional caucus focused exclusively on the nation’s public shipyards and serves as a venue to discuss public shipyard issues, increase stakeholder support for public shipyards, and raise awareness of their importance to Congress.

“Our public shipyards are at the core of our national defense strategy and are vital to local communities across the country,” said Rep. Kilmer. “That’s why Democrats and Republicans are working together to secure strategic federal investments in public shipyards in order to create jobs and have the backs of the brave women and men who serve our country – including at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington. With public shipyards undergoing a once-in-a-generation revitalization through the Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program, increased congressional cooperation and oversight is critical to ensuring the timely and cost-effective completion of this program. I’m excited to work with Rep. Wittman and the rest of the Public Shipyard Caucus to advance the priorities of our public shipyards and the folks who work there.”

“I am thrilled by the strides in recent years in support for the Navy’s Shipyard Infrastructure Organization Program (SIOP); however, Congress must continue to embrace every opportunity to revitalize the Navy’s public shipyards. We cannot afford to be distracted from allocating the resources necessary to continue and accelerate the Navy’s plans to fund shipyard facilities, docks and dry docks, capital equipment improvements, and dredging,” said Rep. Wittman. “Virginia is home to one of the nation’s four public shipyards, and I will continue to be a staunch advocate for efforts that seek to improve naval shipyard infrastructure just as I have been throughout my time in Congress. Congress almost doubled the SIOP investment over the last two years; it is time that the administration prioritizes the shipyard industrial base with the same zeal. I am proud to launch this Public Shipyard Caucus with Representative Kilmer, and I trust that together, along with the other members in the caucus, we will continue to be leading voices and advocates for our Navy’s public shipyards and support our nation’s fleet of today and in the future.”

“Our public shipyards are critical to our overall defense effort”, said Rep. Case. “For Hawai’i in the middle of the vast Indo-Pacific, this is especially true of Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility, our country’s leading maintenance provider for our Navy’s Pacific Fleet and the largest U.S. ship repair facility between the West Coast and the Far East. Although generations of Members of Congress from Hawai’i have worked collectively with our colleagues around the country to advance the interests of our public shipyards, I commend Congressmen Kilmer and Wittman for providing the structure of a formal Congressional Caucus to focus and amplify our efforts.”

“As Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, and a member of the Readiness Subcommittee, we’ve worked hard over the past several years to really begin reinvesting in America’s public shipyards, and they’ve proved their enduring importance to U.S. national security as our entire defense manufacturing sector responds to things like the uptick in shipbuilding demand, routine maintenance availabilities, and unexpected incidents that require immediate repair of our critical capabilities at these yards. America’s public shipyards are a critical piece of our shipbuilding industry and instrumental to ensuring the readiness of the fleet, and I’m proud to join as an original member of the Congressional Public Shipyards Caucus,” said Rep. Courtney.

“As a strong proponent of the Pacific Deterrence Initiative, I look forward to working together with my colleagues in the Public Shipyard Caucus to modernize our public shipyards and support capital improvement projects that are critical to maintaining and growing our presence in the Indo-Pacific region,” said Rep. Kahele.

“America’s public shipyards are crucial to maintaining an operational fleet that is combat-ready. We must make significant investments to modernize our public shipyards to improve readiness, accelerate maintenance and repair schedules, and better serve our fleet,” Rep. Luria said. “As a 20-year Navy veteran representing Hampton Roads, the home of Norfolk Naval Shipyard, I am proud to be a founding member of the new Public Shipyard Caucus to continue advocating on behalf of our shipyards and the needs of the maritime fleet.”

“The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is at the tip of the spear of our national defense and is an economic engine for New Hampshire’s seacoast,” said Rep. Pappas. “I’m pleased to be able to join with Rep. Kilmer and Rep. Wittman and a bipartisan group of my House colleagues to launch the bipartisan Public Shipyard Caucus to further support the vital work being done at public shipyards in my district and across the country.”

“As the proud representative for the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, I understand the unique challenges facing our nation’s public shipyards and their talented and dedicated workers. Forming a bipartisan Public Shipyard Caucus with members from across the country will help elevate and strengthen the voices of PSNY workers in Congress,” said Rep. Pingree. “I applaud Congressmen Kilmer and Wittman for recognizing the need to better address the challenges and opportunities of our public shipyards today, and the importance of banding together to highlight the important role of these critical defense installations with this bipartisan caucus.”

“I am very excited by the formation of the bipartisan Public Shipyard Caucus. I am proud to represent the oldest public shipyard in the country, and this will be a great opportunity to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in support of our public shipyards,” said Rep. Scott.

The Public Shipyard Caucus, co-chaired by U.S. Representatives Derek Kilmer and Rob Wittman, focuses on addressing the needs of our nation’s four public shipyards. The Caucus serves as a venue to discuss public shipyard issues, increase stakeholder support for public shipyards, and raise awareness of their importance to Congress. Original caucus members include Reps. Ed Case, Joe Courtney, Kaialiʻi Kahele, Elaine Luria, Chris Pappas, Chellie Pingree, and Bobby Scott.

Read more here: https://thesubtimes.com/2022/03/28/kilmer-wittman-launch-bipartisan-public-shipyard-caucus/