Southeastern Massachusetts is buoyed by its shoreline economy. State Representative candidate Jim Dever, running in the 5th Barnstable District on Cape Cod, recognizes the importance of our Blue Economy both in the region and globally, which is why he proposed the Ocean Economy and Jobs Act. 

“The ocean-related economy produces over $1.5 trillion in commerce to our global economy – one of the fastest-growing employment growth sectors in the world," said Dever. “Cape Cod is uniquely positioned to take advantage of several emerging industries including offshore wind, marine aquaculture, and marine technology. Economic development and sustainable good-paying jobs in the Blue Economy are on our horizon.”

The Act would provide funding for workforce training and job creation in the Blue Economy sector, as well as grant funding for research and development that is aimed at technological advancement, STEM education for K-12, as well as advancing traditional regional industries such a tourist and fishing. 

Dever rolled out the bill at a virtual press conference on Thursday. He was joined by Gil Newton, former STEM director at Sandwich High School, and New Bedford City Councilor Hugh Dunn. Dunn, who is the founder of the Southern New England Blue Economy Project, has been working closely with Dever to develop this legislation. 

“From commercial fishing, to undersea defense, and offshore wind, the importance of our region’s Blue Economy can not be understated," urged Dunn. “These industries keep us fed, protect our national security, and provide us with clean energy. This bill will help our ocean-based industries access a talented workforce, expand, generate new technologies, and thrive. Our region will be globally competitive in driving sustainable ocean-based economic development.”

Dever said this bill addresses the two primary concerns he hears from constituents: developing new jobs and technology and combating the ongoing climate crisis with sustainable economic development.

“They’re talking about jobs, they’re talking about the environment, they’re talking about how they can get a return on the investment of their tax dollars," Dever said at the press conference. 

The climate crisis remains our greatest existential threat; following close behind is the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout. Dever’s proposal leverages the region’s unparalleled shoreline assets to address both crises in a comprehensive way by creating new job opportunities in local industry and positioning southeastern Massachusetts to be a global leader in sustainable energy and economic growth. 

Marcus Ferro is the host of The Marcus Ferro Show airing Saturdays on 1420 WBSM from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Contact him at marcusferrolaw@gmail.com. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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