I am Matthew Laroche, a Junior at Carnegie Mellon University.
I grew up in Bath, Maine. My father works at Bath Iron Works; he used to be an engineer on the DD-X project. In school, most of my classmates had at least one parent working at the yard.
A few years ago, when the contract for the DD-X project was assigned, you made sure that it went to Ingalls, in your state. Ingalls had a team with a lesser design and had lesser ability to fulfill the contract. You even ignored the Navy’s recommendation of which shipyard was better for the contract, and ignored BIW’s appeal when the assignment had several flaws in it, making BIW an even better choice for the contract.
Even after the contract was given to Ingalls, they have had issues completing it because they were not prepared – at the time, even they knew BIW was better prepared and had better ideas. The choice of Ingalls has been proven poor.
At the time, I was disappointed – but I thought BIW would always have a future so I did not fight. Now, the Navy is thinking of going to one manufacturer of destroyers – either Ingalls or BIW.
Since you decided to do what was best for your state when the project was assigned instead of what’s best for the country, I now believe you have a moral obligation to make sure what is best for the country happens when the Navy chooses one yard. Remember, you may be a senator from Mississippi, but you are a United States Senator first. You have an obligation to everyone in the country, even people in Maine.
Otherwise, I believe you will be responsible for what happens when BIW closes its gates. My hometown will die. Not because the Navy did not have enough ships to build, not because they didn’t fight the good fight, but that politicians chose what was best for their area and not what was best for the country.
I see that you have rejected the winner-takes-all suggestion for DDX construction, but if the time comes, I invite you to go further. I invite you to fulfill your duty to the country; I invite you to give Bath a fair chance. I invite you to be fair and impartial when the time comes and chose what is best for America.
Thank you for your time,