U.S. Sen. David Vitter today made the following comments after touring the Avondale Shipyard with U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke.
"I had a frank discussion today with Secretary Locke about Avondale's future viability as an industrial base in Louisiana and about how I'm working with the rest of our congressional delegation to protect the thousands of jobs that depend on continued operations here," said Vitter. "I've been encouraged by the steps Navy Secretary Ray Mabus has taken to continue shipbuilding here for at least a few years, but we still have a lot to do to protect these thousands of jobs over the long-term."
Vitter met with Mabus in July to discuss Northrop Grumman's announcement that it intended to cease shipbuilding operations at Avondale in the near future. Following that meeting, the Navy guaranteed that two LPD warships currently under construction would be completed at Avondale, and that the start of a Navy tanker building program would be moved up from 2017 to 2014 to enable another shipbuilding company to potentially buy the shipyard and secure a bid to build the tankers there.
"The work we're doing to save Avondale is part of a broader effort to secure jobs across south Louisiana," said Vitter. "I'm also particularly focused on the future of the Michoud Assembly Facility, and I was really pleased to help pass the bipartisan NASA Reauthorization Act that will help protect hundreds of high-paying jobs at Michoud and help keep Louisiana as an integral part of human space flight for years to come.
"These efforts, along with the ongoing work to roll back the Obama administration's job-killing moratorium, are critical to the economic viability of our state," said Vitter.