Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Second and Subs

Rep. Simmons receives a "setback" on plan to increase Sub building:
U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons' effort to rescue the declining submarine industry in Connecticut - his self-described "Simmons Plan" - encountered both bad news and hope this week.

The push to increase nuclear-powered submarine production rates has so far foundered, but a letter from Taiwan's military leadership highlights the possibility of a whole new heading for Connecticut sub builder Electric Boat.

Congress is close to authorizing the extra $400 million Simmons wanted in order to increase the submarine building rate within three years. But the committee in charge of finalizing defense spending decided this week against providing the cash to pay for that authorization this year.
Would Rep. Simmons time be better spent trying to make his district less dependent on the building of submarines? I'm not sure if there's a good answer, but I would hope Simmons is looking to the long-term effects of any plan to increase sub spending, and not just to it's effects in November.
Jesse Hamilton. "Setback, Hope For Sub Effort". Hartford Courant. 9/27/06.


Anonymous said...

Mr McGee -

Perhaps you should look at a map of the 2CD and the towns in that district. There is much much more in the district than a sub base AND a sub manufacturer. It is also the fastest growing district in CT with a very diverse work force with industry, agricultural, office, technology and so on and so on. You may also note it is the only district in CT that does not have a major metropolitan city in it. There already is mucg more to the 2CD than sub bases but you would need to look to see that now, wouldn't you?

And before I get tagged as a staffer or something, I am an unaffiliated vote that lives in Colchester. I voted Gore, Kerry, Simmons the past few elections but am on the fence this year. I just felt the need to defend ourselves, as you are clearly uninformed when it comes to the area east of Hartford.

PS....we kinda like it the way it is out in our neck of the woods.

Bobby McGee said...

Sorry. I wasn't trying to sound smug. But the way incumbent politicians talk these days, you wouldn't know there was much more to the 2nd than subs. I mean, Lieberman, Simmons and Rell have all made the sub base a centerpiece in their reelection campaigns.

So how dependent is the 2nd on subs, really? Dependent enough that this should be Simmon's top priority?

Genghis Conn said...

There is a piece of the 2nd that used to be almost entirely dependent on subs: i.e., greater New London.

The loss of the base wouldn't hit New London County now as hard as it might have in 1993. The casino/tourism economy, as problematic as it might be, helps to bring dollars into the region. Utopia Studios, should it ever be built, would just add to that.

I've got to think that either the base will be closed during the next round, or that the Navy will keep drawing resources away from it, as they have been since 1993. They don't want a base here. Period. It's sad for us, but there it is.

As for the rest of the 2nd, which really is a massive district geographically, we're not so dependent on the subs or defense jobs.

If you look at the 2004 2nd CD election map to the right, you'll see that support for Simmons picked up in that area while softening elsewhere from 2002 to 2004. This is Simmons's strategy: win big in the New London area, do well enough elsewhere to carry the district. But as I said before, if Courtney (who is from my part of the 2nd in north central CT) can win Enfield, Vernon and the reliably Democratic towns and do well in the rest, he'll win. Sub base or no.

Focused Democrat said...

Simmons strategy is smart and effective. Also, by focusing on the sub base, Simmons is doing what he should do. He is a U.S. Reprepresentative, not a Department of Economic Development.

Simmons is running a great campaign, He knew he needed an A+ effort and he's delivered. Still, I think Joe Courtney will win. He's right on Iraq and he's a top quality person.

Genghis - I would be surprised if you think Utopia is anything but a fictional promise. There is no money behind it. The "developer" is going door to door to get potential vendors to buy into this "project." The trade unions supporting this project have been sold nothing short of a scam. Their leadership must go for either being dangerously naive or perhaps corrupt.

Anonymous said...

Courtney's had some amazing local press the last few days -- especially given his slight cash disadvantage, that's got to mean something.

Anybody who says that EB and the sub base aren't crucial to the 2nd District is nuts. Between 50 and 75,000 2nd District residents directly depend on sub-related employment, and at least another 30-40,000 are indirectly dependent on sub-generated economic activity. Out of a total district population of just 681,000, that's significant.

However, what I find amazing is that despite Simmons' much-touted sub activities, he's still getting apalling numbers out of New London and Groton, which remain Dem strongholds (Groton especially).

What would be really odd is if Simmons gets sub base traction -- not from people who work in the base -- but from random voters in Enfield, Madison and Killingly who happen to have seen the ads and who support the military.

Anonymous said...

As the anonymous above, I don't see Simmons gaining traction. In fact, I think his hits on Courtney have failed to stick. Everybody knew the subbase was Simmons' ace in the hole, and Courtney's had time to prepare.

strikeforce said...

Would Rep. Simmons time be better spent trying to make his district less dependent on the building of submarines?

Thje demand for subs is directly related to the rise of China as an international chess piece and Korea, whose head of state continues to be a menacing nutcase. Since these guys aren't going anywhere soon, subs will be much in demand for the little people. Hey, gun running is a good business. And if we won't do it, who will?

Anonymous said...

If there's going to be any growth in shipbuilding, its in littoral and ASW ships, not in submarines. EB is going to lay off a lot of people, whether they do it today, tomorrow or five years from now, and that's just a fact we have to resign ourselves to. Moreover, the prospect of an Army authorized force increase seems increasingly likely, which would cut away from discretionary funding increases.

To the extent that the 2nd has a military sector that can experience real near-term growth, I'd really be focussing on the USCGA within the context of homeland security funding. Additionally, a responsible Congressman would seek to diversify employment options in the New London / Groton area. Not every laid off machinist is going to be able to find a job dealing cards at the Mohegan.