U.S. Sens. John Kerry and Scott Brown have reiterated numerous past requests that the federal government take “immediate and decisive action to provide a disaster declaration for New England fishermen and fishing communities.”
The latest letter was sent Monday to Acting Commerce Secretary Roberta Blank. A copy was released to the Times today by Kerry’s communications director, Jodi Seth. Kerry has shown increasing exasperation at NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco, who plays a pivotal role in fisheries decisions made at the secretarial level.
Blank had no immediate response today to emails from the Times seeking an explanation for the administration’s failure to approve or deny the original filing for a disaster declaration made last November by Gov. Deval Patrick.
Brown, along with Congressmen John Tierney, who represents Cape Ann, and Barney Frank, whose district includes New Bedford, has previously called for Lubchenco’s ouster, and Kerry hinted last Friday Kerry that he might soon be adding his voice to theirs.
Asked at a press event in Boston if he agreed with Brown that Lubchenco should be replaced, Kerry was quoted as saying, “If we don’t get a response at this point in time, I’ll have comment on that.”
“Senator Kerry has been as persistent and tenacious a hands-on advocate for the disaster declaration as Massachusetts has ever seen, and he’s obviously deeply frustrated not just that it hasn’t happened yet, but that we don’t know why despite the strong and improved case he’s made with the Governor,” Seth said today. “His recent comments underscore that his patience isn’t a renewable resource, and he’s pushing for action now.”
For much more on this story, look to tomorrow’s print and online editions of the Gloucester Daily Times and gloucestertimes.com.
Richard Gaines can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3464, or at email@example.com.