June 01, 2018

Van Hollen Tours J.M. Clayton Seafood Co., Discusses Visa Issues with Local Crab House Owners

Yesterday, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen visited J.M. Clayton Seafood Co. in Cambridge, Maryland where he met with a group of local crab house owners to discuss the impact of their ongoing labor shortage. Earlier that day, he spoke directly with DHS Secretary Nielson and emphasized the financial harm facing small businesses in Maryland due to the lack of workers. Both Senators Van Hollen and Cardin have urged the Administration to release more H-2B visas this year to meet the needs of Maryland's seasonal seafood workforce as they work to make long term reforms in the program going forward. 

“Our local crab houses need workers to process the Maryland crabs harvested by our watermen. Having a reliable workforce is crucial to the success of our seafood industry and the larger Eastern Shore economy – from the watermen, to the crab houses, to the local restaurants. I will continue working with our stakeholders across the board to address this urgent issue, while we work for a longer term solution,” said Senator Van Hollen.
The Senator listened to the owners’ concerns and the group discussed possible actions to resolve this critical problem.
“My business relies on these workers, and without them our whole industry is at risk. I appreciate Senator Van Hollen taking the time to visit with us and hear our concerns, as well as his efforts to address this issue,” said Jack Brooks, owner of J.M. Clayton Co.
 In attendance were:
·         Jack Brooks, Joe Brooks, Clay Brooks, and Bill Brooks – J.M. Clayton Co.
·         Robin Hall – G.W. Hall Seafood
·         Harry Phillips – Russell Hall Seafood
·         Morgan Tolley – A.E. Phillips Seafood
·         Aubrey Vincent – Lindy's Seafood
·         Jay Newcomb – Old Salty's Seafood
·         Jennifer Dionne and Colleen Purcell – American Seafood Jobs Alliance
      Bill Sieling – Chesapeake Bay Seafood Industries Association
      Brian Simmons - Rippons Brothers
·        Rich Colburn – Former State Senator Dist. 37B and current Special Assistant to the Maryland Department of Agriculture Secretary, Joe Bartenfelder
       Kim Kratovil – Senator Ben Cardin