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Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) has been named 2013 Great Lakes Legislator of the Year by the Great Lakes Maritime Task Force (GLMTF).

Dedicated to ensuring a strong U.S. maritime industry on the Great Lakes and in the Midwest, the GLMTF presents its annual award to the one legislator whom it deems has done the most that year to advance important maritime interests in the region.

“Senator Klobuchar has been focused on Great Lakes issues since her first day in the Senate,” said Donald Cree, who not only is president of task force, but also of the Toledo Port Maritime Council. “These have been critical times for the Great Lakes Navigation System .The dredging crisis has severely impacted waterborne commerce, but thanks to her support for legislation that would require the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund to spend more of the tax dollars it collects for dredging on dredging, we are a giant step to closer to ships once again carrying full loads.”

Cree noted that Klobuchar’s commitment to Great Lakes shipping comes as much from her background as her recognition of the important economic interests that the maritime industry generates in the region.

“Her grandfather was a miner on Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range, and it was Great Lakes freighters that moved that iron ore to the nation’s blast furnaces,” he said. “These two great industries could never have thrived without each other and their futures are inextricably linked.”

“While the dredging crisis has dominated legislators’ attention to the Great Lakes for the past several years, there are other issues and on these Sen. Klobuchar has likewise been a leader,” added John Baker, who serves as president of the Cleveland Port Maritime Council as well as the task force’s second vice president. He said she “understands we desperately need a second Poe-sized lock at Sault Ste. Marie, MI. Twinning the Poe Lock will not only ensure that America’s steel mills have reliable access to Minnesota and Michigan iron ore, but that Midwest farmers can ship their grain to overseas markets.”