3/30/2011 — 

WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) today applauded the White House for sending an economic development and assessment team next month to Point Judith to help develop proactive strategies for addressing economic challenges.

The federal team will be comprised of personnel from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and other agencies to conduct an analysis of Point Judith.  The assessment team will meet with local leaders to help identify economic development challenges and opportunities facing local industries and communities.

According to the Department of Commerce, the goal of the visits is to provide customized technical assistance for fishing communities that experienced reductions in groundfish fishing revenues in recent years.

"This is a laudable step toward helping Rhode Island's fishing industry, which is an economic anchor for Point Judith and for the state.  We will continue to urge the Commerce Department and NOAA to consider a full range of options to assist Rhode Island fishermen who have been hurt by challenges in lobster, groundfish, and other fisheries," said Reed and Whitehouse.

Five other Northeast fishing ports will also receive visits from federal economic development and assessment teams: Montauk, New York; Portland, Maine; Seabrook, New Hampshire; New Bedford, Massachusetts; and Gloucester, Massachusetts.

The economic development teams will work with local government, community, and business leaders, regional planning organizations, and economic development organizations to explore issues ranging from infrastructure challenges to development and financing needs, attempting to look at the total economic picture for each community.  After the assessment, EDA will present a report that captures economic development best practices and customized strategies for the community's long-term strategic planning.