This Washington

Rossi Tours Company that Got $800,000 in Stimulus Money

By Josh Feit September 16, 2010

Republican U.S. senate candidate Dino Rossi toured the Nichols Brothers Boat Buliders in Freeland, Washington today.

We're not sure if Rossi used the campaign stop to bash the the $787 billion stimulus package—one of his regular campaign trail messages aimed at U.S. Sen. Patty Murray's "reckless" voting record. (Murray voted for President Obama's stimulus bill.) But trashing the stimulus bill might not have gone over too well in Freeland if he had.

The Nichols Brothers Boat Builders got over $800,000 in stimulus money last year as part of $98,000,000 in maritime funds secured by Sen. Murray.

The South Whidbey Record reported on the Nichols Brothers stimulus grant last year.
Nichols Brothers Boat Builders will get nearly a million dollars in federal stimulus funds as one of 10 small shipyards in the state to receive grants.

The Freeland firm will get $841,077 from the Maritime Administration to use for improvements at the yard, Len York, Nichols Brothers chief executive, said Thursday.

The money, from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, is part of nearly $7.4 million awarded to shipyards in the state, and $98 million awarded to 70 shipyards nationally by the federal Maritime Administration.

York said the money would be used to upgrade equipment and to build portable coverings under which anticipated future projects can be built.


[Sen. Murray] included $100 million in the Recovery Act to improve small shipyards and create jobs. The bill was signed into law by President Obama on Feb. 17.

The grants will be distributed through the Maritime Administration’s Supplemental Grants for Assistance to Small Shipyards program.

“Our small shipyards are a critical piece of our domestic maritime industry, and of Washington state’s economy,” Murray said.

Washington received the most stimulus grants of any state.

"Dino Rossi has bashed the stimulus for months," says Sadie Weiner, spokeswoman for the Democrats, "and now he is visiting a shipyard in Freeland that used stimulus money to upgrade their facility. Looks like Dino really missed the boat on this one."

Footnote: While Murray did vote for the stimulus, and while as chairwoman of the appropriations committee that oversees maritime spending, Murray did direct the Obama administration to allocate $98 million to maritime projects for small shipyards like the Nichols Brothers, she recently told King 5's Robert Mak that the individual stim projects themselves were "picked by the administration not by any of us [senators]."

I have a call in to the Nichols Brother Boat Builders to get their take on Obama's stimulus bill and Murray's role in supporting the maritime industry.

Rossi's spokeswoman Jennifer Morris' take: "I'll say what Dino has said numerous times. If it's worth doing, it should be done in the normal budgeting process."
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