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Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Jones Act Campaign Contributions: Mazie Hirono is Living the Dream
By Michael Hansen @ 5:04 PM :: 5264 Views :: Ethics, Jones Act

Maritime industry awards Sen Hirono for Jones Act support

by Michael Hansen, Hawaii Shippers Council

Washington DC-based public relations firm Nahigian Strategies LLC issued a press release on March 28, 2016, announcing that U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) will be presented with the “2016 Champion of Maritime Award” by the national maritime trade association, American Maritime Partnership (AMP) at 08:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 29, 2016, at Nico’s Restaurant, Pier 38, Honolulu Harbor, Hawaii.

The flyer announcing the event states, “The American Maritime Partnership, the voice of the domestic maritime industry, will recognize U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) with the 2016 Champion of Maritime Award. Sen. Hirono will be honored for her long-standing support and commitment to the men and women of domestic maritime in her work on the Senate Armed Services Committee and as a Ranking Member of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Energy.”

Essentially the national domestic maritime industry is thanking Sen Hirono for her unqualified support for Jones Act cabotage, regardless of how reform of the federal cabotage laws might benefit her constituents in Hawaii.

As Eric Pape, Deputy Editor, Civil Beat, wrote on April 27, 2015, in his Living Hawaii series, “The Jones Act pays off — in politics". The state’s delegation in Washington, D.C., enjoys outsized donations from maritime lobbyists, but several members told Civil Beat this doesn't affect their stances.”

It would appear that Sen Hirono is living up to Mr. Pape’s dictum.

Sen Hirono was elected to the U.S. Senate defeating former Governor Linda Lingle (R-HI) in November 2012 replacing the retiring U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI).  During the 2012 campaign, Sen Hirono raised $5.2 million and spent $5.0 million.  As Sen Hirono will be facing reelection in 2018, it would seem that her fundraising efforts are well underway.

American Maritime Partnership (AMP)

The American Maritime Partnership (AMP) was formed in the mid-1990’s as the Maritime Cabotage Task Force (MCTF) to defend Jones Act cabotage in response to the Jones Act Reform Coalition (JARC) efforts to seek reform of the nation’s coastwise laws.  Today, AMP is the leading American maritime industry trade association lobbying for support of and opposed to any reform of the coastwise laws and regulations.  The membership of the AMP is made up of domestic shipowners, U.S. shipbuilders, and the maritime and shipyard unions.

Nahigian Strategies LLC

Washington D.C.-based Nahigian was formed in 2000 by President Keith Nahigian as a public relations firm focused on client growth. Today Nahigian represents among other clients the Shipbuilders Council of America (SCA) and the American Maritime Partnership (AMP).  Nahigian states they assisted the SCA and AMP in forming the broadest domestic maritime coalition ever assembled with over 450 members who represent some of the nation’s largest domestic maritime companies and organizations. Nahigian reports that by engaging with lawmakers and bolstering their support, our team has grown AMP to become the leading voice in the maritime industry with the mission to protect our nation’s domestic waters, through vessels that are U.S. owned, U.S. built, and U.S. crewed.

The Nahigian press release is attached as HSC-858.

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