Commercial Fishermen’s Association President Chris Brown to Join Whitehouse for State of the Union
Senate’s leading oceans advocate vows to protect RI coastal economy from Trump drilling threat
Providence, RI – Narragansett fisherman Chris Brown, who serves as President of the Rhode Island Commercial Fishermen’s Association, will head to the U.S. Capitol to join Senator Sheldon Whitehouse for the State of the Union address on Tuesday evening. The speech comes weeks after President Donald Trump moved to expand oil and gas drilling off the Atlantic coast, putting the local commercial fishing industry and the Ocean State’s coastal economy in harm’s way.
“I am proud to have Chris Brown, a terrific leader in Rhode Island’s fishing community, by my side for the State of the Union,” said Whitehouse, a champion in the Senate for the oceans and a lead sponsor of bipartisan legislation to bar drilling off the coast of New England. “While President Trump campaigned on standing up for working people, his offshore drilling proposal threatens the jobs of hardworking fishermen who carve out a living on Narragansett Bay and all those who work at small businesses along the coast. I’m going to keep listening to and fighting for Rhode Island’s fishermen, and I will do everything in my power to stop President Trump from expanding profits for big oil and gas corporations at the risk of all the progress we’ve made investing in infrastructure at our ports and cleaning up Narragansett Bay.”
Brown has fished out of Point Judith for nearly four decades. Throughout his career, Brown has founded and led organizations to make the fishing industry more sustainable. Brown currently serves as President of both the Commercial Fisheries Center of Rhode Island and Seafood Harvesters of America, a national commercial fishermen’s organization that promotes sustainable fishing and responsible stewardship of ocean resources.
“It is humbling to accept this honor, but I do so on behalf of the great men and women who I am lucky enough to represent,” Brown said. “The core values and principles of the fishermen in Rhode Island and those across the nation are supported tirelessly by Senator Whitehouse. Clean water, strong stocks, and a vibrant coastal economy are all the fruits of accountability. Senator Whitehouse sees what we do, believes in our mission, and helps us realize it every day.”
Upgrading the infrastructure along Rhode Island’s coast has long been a top priority for Whitehouse. Last month, Whitehouse and Rhode Island’s federal delegation announced a $1.6 million grant administered by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to rebuild key infrastructure at the Port of Galilee in order to help protect jobs and promote investment at Rhode Island’s busiest commercial fishing port. The new grant builds on a previous $2.9 million investment from EDA that the Congressional delegation secured for the Port of Galilee in 2013.
Whitehouse is co-chair and co-founder of the Senate Oceans Caucus, a bipartisan group of 36 senators that works to address emerging ocean and coastal issues, including illegal fishing and marine debris. He co-authored the Save Our Seas Act, bipartisan legislation passed unanimously by the Senate last summer, to stem the flow of plastic ocean debris that can harm fish and marine wildlife.
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