U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren Friday declined to accept an offer from her mentor, retired Congressman Barney Frank, to accompany her to the White House to appeal for relief from an expanding crisis and recognized economic disaster across the Northeast groundfishery.
Warren sought to bond with fishermen in Gloucester and New Bedford in meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday, describing the industry as in “59th minute of its 11th hour” while facing enormous catch limit cuts and added federal operational charges on top of a systemic disaster that has coincided with the choice of Jane Lubchenco, President Obama’s head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to transform fishery management and admittedly consolidate New England’s fleets.
Frank, through a phone interview with the Times, offered Thursday to go with Warren to the White House to seek the president’s support for the industry and an executive order of other action to block the dire cuts and virtual industry shutdown.
Warren’s office released a statement to the Times Friday afternoon that reviewed her visits with fishermen, but largely ignored the offer by Frank, who described Lubchenco as dishonest, with a anti-fishing agenda.
“Senator Warren appreciated the opportunity to meet with fishermen, family members, local small business owners, and advocates earlier this week in Gloucester and New Bedford to talk about the future of the New England fishing industry,” said Bruno Freitas, a senior advisor to Warren who, for many years, served as Frank’s fisheries advisor. “It’s clear that the rules that are in place are not working for fishermen or their families.
”Senator Warren will use the tools she has available to provide them the help they need,” Freitas’ statement continued. “She has worked closely with Congressman Frank on this and other issues, and she will continue developing a strategy to most effectively assist Massachusetts fishermen.”