With Cantwell’s Support, Washington State Labor Leader Max Vekich Confirmed by Senate for Federal Maritime Commission

Cantwell: “We need a commission in place willing to act. A commission…to make sure we are protecting American exporters.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Max Vekich, President Biden’s nominee for Commissioner of the Federal Maritime Commission, and Aberdeen, Washington Native, was confirmed by the Senate with a vote of 51-43. Prior to the vote, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, Chair of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, spoke on the floor of the Senate in support of his nomination.

“Mr. Vekich knows the ports, he knows the shipping communities, and has spent more than 40 years working on the waterfront. He spent his life working in the maritime industry and knows the challenges that we face in maritime and intermodal transportation, in congestion, and continuing to move forward on how we advance our ports,” said Cantwell. “Mr. Vekich knows what it takes to move product from the heartland. He knows that in our Washington ports we are helping U.S. farmers get their products to market. So I know whether that’s wheat or soybeans, or other ag products, he knows what it takes to move them and what it takes for us to continue to improve the efficiency of our ports.”

Last week, the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee voted to advance Vekich’s nomination. The Commission is responsible for regulating agreements between American exporters and the shipping companies that carry their goods to ensure they are fair and competitive.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented port congestion and supply chain disruptions. Businesses and Americans are feeling the pinch of rising prices and shortages on everyday products. At this critical time in our country, the Commission plays an important role in oversight, investigations and regulation of detention and demurrage, information flow, and enforcement of unfair practices by foreign shipping companies.

“The perspective and experience that Mr. Vekich will bring to this position of Commissioner is needed in this moment,” Cantwell said at the nomination hearing in October“He has a unique career first serving as a member of the Washington Legislature, followed by a long career as a longshoreman in Grays Harbor and in Seattle. Mr. Vekich knows port and shipping communities firsthand. He spent his life working in the maritime industry, and knows the challenges faced by the maritime and intermodal transportation system. And I know he understands the importance of what a maritime economy is to the State of Washington's economy and knows how important it is to our national economy as well.” 

Max Vekich is a native of Aberdeen, Washington. He served four consecutive terms as the representative for the 35th Legislative District in Washington state’s House of Representatives from 1983-1991. During Vekich’s tenure, he served as Chair of three committees: Agriculture, Trade & Economic Development, and Commerce & Labor.

In 2004, Vekich joined the Port of Seattle to supervise the loading and unloading of vessels. He also served as a member of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union’s executive board. Vekich is married to Marcee Stone, they have three adult children and four grandchildren. Two of his children are longshore workers and his daughter-in-law is currently in training. 

Video of Senator Cantwell’s floor remarks is available HERE.

A full transcript of Senator Cantwell’s remarks is available HERE.