U.S. Representative Tim Bishop, a Southampton native, was recently appointed to the Congressional Board of Visitors for the United States Merchant Marine Academy.
This is Bishop’s first time being appointed to the bipartisan board, which makes recommendations on academy operations and visits the academy in Kings Point, Queens, on a regular basis.
“The dedicated cadets of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy are tomorrow’s leaders in international commerce and maritime security, and I am honored to be among the few Members of Congress chosen to serve this distinguished institution on its Board of Visitors,” Bishop said.
Bishop was the only Democrat from the House of Representatives named to the board by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon. The appointment lasts through the end of 2014.
Bishop has nominated fifteen active midshipmen from eastern Long Island who are currently enrolled at the academy. Graduates must serve five years on active duty in the U.S. military or work for five years in the maritime industry, with an eight-year commission in any branch of the reserves. Under federal law, the Merchant Marine can be annexed to the U.S. Navy for logistical support during wartime.
The temporary closure of the Merchant Marine Academy during the federal government shutdown in October drew Bishop’s ire at the time. “[The USMMA] right now is closed. It’s shut down. No classes are being offered,” he said on the House floor. “So we have nominated the cream of the crop that this country has to offer to this academy and they are attending a school which cannot schedule and hold classes. This is madness.”
Bishop’s office said the congressman hopes that the bipartisan board can ensure that if there is another government shutdown the academy’s operations will not be interrupted.