Senate race has marine component

Louisiana’s three-term Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu is in a run for her political life. Landrieu, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is in a runoff with three-term Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy and is currently behind in the polls.

Republicans have criticized Landrieu for not doing enough as chairman of the energy committee. “Sen. Landrieu made much of her seat on the energy committee but failed to use that seat to stand up to President Obama’s assault on our energy economy,” Cassidy said in a prepared statement. Wait a minute, isn’t the U.S. producing so much oil and gas that many are pushing for more oil exports? What do they want a return to the days when OPEC led us around by the nose?

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has promised Cassidy a seat on the same committee that Landrieu now chairs if he wins the Dec. 6 runoff. “Louisiana will have a senator that will use his clout to support energy jobs, not President Obama,” McConnell said in a prepared statement. Yeah, Landrieu supported Obama’s initiative to expand offshore drilling. Isn’t that supporting energy jobs? Unfortunately, a little mishap called the BP oil spill set those plans back — way back. Yet, she opposed the moratorium the president put in place following the disaster and has always been a champion of the oil and gas industry in Louisiana.

Landrieu has also been a big supporter of the shipbuilding industry and the entire workboat industry in the state. So much so that Bollinger Shipyards president, chairman and CEO Boysie Bollinger took part in a commercial that ran during the primary supporting her re-election. “Even though I’m a Republican and I don’t always agree with her, Louisiana can’t afford to lose Mary Landrieu,” Bollinger said in the ad spot. Many believe that Landrieu helped Bollinger secure several contracts to build vessels for the U.S. Coast Guard. In fact, Bollinger Shipyards is one of three boatbuilders in the running to construct the Coast Guard’s new 300′ offshore patrol cutters, a contract potentially worth billions of dollars.

If Cassidy wins, let’s hope he takes the same interest in the marine industry that Landrieu has. More offshore oil and gas exploration means more OSVs go to work. It also means the best possible equipment is needed to support that industry, like now. A hefty percentage of that equipment has been built in Louisiana.

Let’s keep it that way.

About the author

Ken Hocke

Ken Hocke has been the senior editor of WorkBoat since 1999. He was the associate editor of WorkBoat from 1997 to 1999. Prior to that, he was the editor of the Daily Shipping Guide, a transportation daily in New Orleans. He has written for other publications including The Times-Picayune. He graduated from Louisiana State University with an arts and sciences degree, with a concentration in English, in 1978.

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