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U.S. Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA) took his case for strengthening the U.S.-flag maritime industry to northern California business leaders in Oakland on April 9.

Speaking before the Bay Planning Coalition’s 2015 Decision Makers Conference, the ranking member of the House Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee told the group, “When we export LNG, we need to make sure that the export of this natural asset is being conducted by American sailors on American ships.

“In doing so, we will revitalize America’s shipbuilding industry in a big way,” he added.

Garamendi, who spoke at the 2013 MTD Convention, has been a strong supporter of the U.S. merchant marine. During his four terms in Congress, he has worked hard with other legislators – no matter the party – to find ways to help the industry.

He told the audience of the need for more domestic shipbuilding: “Can it be done? Well, it turns out that a lot of shipyards are represented by my Republican friends.”

In addition, Garamendi repeated his call for support for the Jones Act and that funds collected by the Harbor Maintenance Tax be used to solely to improve the nation’s ports and waterways.