AAPA Selects U.S. Rep. Jane Harman As 2009 'Port Person Of The Year'
March 24 ‘Spring Conference’ Will Also Feature Former DOT Sec. Rodney Slater, European Sea Ports Organisation Leaders
U.S. Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-CA) will be honored as the American Association of Port Authorities' (AAPA) "Port Person of the Year" at the port association's annual Washington People's Luncheon on March 24 in Washington, D.C.'s historic Willard InterContinental Hotel. AAPA - a trade association comprising the leading port authorities in the Western Hemisphere - selected Rep. Harman to receive its most prestigious annual award based on her role in authoring the SAFE Port Act of 2006 and for advancing other significant legislation to ensure the safety and security of America's seaports and the commerce flowing through them.
In addition to receiving AAPA's "Port Person" award, Rep. Harman will serve as the luncheon's keynote speaker. As part of her remarks, she is expected to discuss her ongoing work to secure America's ports, including her efforts to improve the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) implementation process. Rep. Harman has helped effect a more efficient and speedy TWIC enrollment process, which is still underway.
"Congresswoman Harman is recognized as an authoritative voice on counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence matters and is a true ally to America's ports," said Kurt Nagle, AAPA's president and CEO. "Thanks in large measure to her successful efforts to advocate funding for port security at levels authorized in the SAFE Port Act, seaport security has become a higher federal priority. Secure ports are both critical to homeland security and play a vital role in revitalizing our economy and delivering long term prosperity."
Rep. Harman served eight years on the House Intelligence Committee, the final four as Ranking Member, where she helped shape Congress' policy on the 9/11 attacks and played a lead role in the creation and passage of the many security policy reforms, including the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004. She continues that security policy focus today as chair of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence & Terrorism Risk Assessment.
Introducing the congresswoman will be Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Geraldine Knatz, Ph.D, who is AAPA's 2009 Chairman of the Board. "In the course of over two years, Representative Harman brought various members of Congress to the Port of Los Angeles, including Secretary (Michael) Chertoff each year, to highlight the importance of port security and the ports' role in international and domestic commerce," said Dr. Knatz. "It only took two congressional sessions to pass the SAFE Port Act in both chambers and it was quickly signed by the president."
Each year, AAPA presents its "Port Person of the Year" award to an individual who has made significant contributions to the port industry. Recent award recipients include: U.S. Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV), 2008; Panamanian President Martin Torrijos, 2007; U.S. Sen. Susan M. Collins (R-ME), 2006; U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, 2005; U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), 2004; U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-MN), 2003; U.S. Trade Rep. Robert B. Zoellick, 2002; U.S. Sen. John Breaux (D-LA), 2001; and U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), 2000.
The Washington People's Luncheon is the capstone event for AAPA's annual Spring Conference. Conference speakers will include former Department of Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater, who is now a partner with Patton Boggs LLP in Washington, D.C.; several high level officials discussing the role of ports in the economic stimulus package and beyond; and European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) Secretary General Patrick Verhoeven, together with ESPO Chairman Victor Schoenmakers (the Port of Rotterdam's Europe director), who will sign a Memorandum of Understanding with AAPA to enhance cooperation and sharing of best practices between ports in Europe and throughout the Western Hemisphere.
AAPA anticipates that more than 200 legislators, governmental staff members and port industry leaders will take part in the two-day conference, which runs March 23-24.
U.S. Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), Chair, Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence & Terrorism Risk Assessment