JULY 22, 2013 — Huntington Ingalls Industries (NYSE:HII) gave U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) a tour of its Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) division, last week. Senator Durbin is Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee's Defense subcommittee.
HHI CEO Mike Petters (center) with Senators Durbin (left) and Kaine (right)
"Given his critical role on the Defense Appropriations subcommittee, I was glad to invite my friend Senator Durbin to meet with Virginia shipbuilders and discuss key issues regarding the nation's submarine and carrier programs," said Senator Kaine.
HII President and CEO Mike Petters accompanied the senators on the shipyard tour, which included visits in aircraft carrier and submarine construction facilities and a tour of aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). Ford is about 62 percent overall complete. The ship's christening is scheduled for Nov. 9.
Senator Durbin, who was first elected to the Senate in 1996, is the senior Senator from Illinois. He serves as the assistant majority leader, the second highest-ranking position in the Senate. He sits on the Senate Judiciary, Appropriations, Foreign Relations and Rules committees. He is chairman of the Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, as well as the Appropriations Committee's Defense subcommittee.
Speaking about the defense budget and its impact on employees at NNS after the tour, he said, "We've got to make certain they have continuity of work, not just so that the largest private employer in the state is maintaining its workforce, but that we have these skilled shipbuilders available when we need them—and we need them virtually all of the time."
Mr. Petters said the visit by the senators "clearly underscores their understanding of the importance of our industry to America's defense and economic health. While the tour at NNS rightly focused on aircraft carriers and submarines, the accompanying discussion encompassed the HII portfolio of ships and what they contribute to our nation, to include destroyers, amphibious assault ships and National Security Cutters."