On May 6, 2011 I gave public testimony to the Oregon Joint Ways and Means Committee in support of ocean observation and research. The Committee had come to Newport, Oregon to hear the public share thoughts on how to deal with the budget shortfall. They were contemplating eliminating 20% in funding for Oregon’s statewide support for research in agriculture and ocean research. Here is what I said: “Good afternoon. My name is John Lavrakas, and I run a small R&D business here in Newport. We are all aware of the great economic benefit the NOAA Pacific Fleet is bringing to Oregon. What we may not be aware of is that this is but one part of a number of ocean related initiatives in this region. Besides operating my small business, I volunteer my time as co-chair of a regional committee to brand Newport as a hub for ocean observation and research in the Pacific Northwest, ranking it alongside Woods Hole and Scripps Institute. Our committee is represented by regional leaders, Oregon State University, and Business Oregon.

The legislature seeks ways wisely to spend state revenues. In your search, forget not the great value found in investment in marine science to support sustainable fisheries, understand ocean behaviors, and protect its ecosystem. Organizations such as OSU’s Coastal Experiment Station help lead many of these initiatives. The numbers in support of ocean research are clear: tens of millions of dollars in direct revenues from the Federal government, hundreds of jobs for government and state employees, universities, and contractors. We know it is prudent to leverage state funds to obtain other dollars. Other states have large military bases that bring in projects and jobs. In Oregon our federal contribution is ocean research, — in marine science, in fisheries, and in wave energy. The investment you have made has already begun to pay off. Continue to make this investment and continue to fuel this economic growth for our state.

Thank you for coming to the Oregon Coast.”

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