March 17, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Friday, March 17—following his efforts to secure $103 million in federal funding for the Wallops Island Bridge—U.S. Senator Tim Kaine will visit the bridge, tour NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, tour Ruby Salts Oyster Company, and host a roundtable discussion with local oyster growers in Cape Charles.

Kaine will tour NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility to hear about updates made to the facility and to discuss $103 million in federal funding in the recent government funding bill he helped secure to fully construct and replace the Wallops Island Bridge, which will help ensure mission readiness for future NASA launches. Kaine has been a strong advocate for increased funding to address the deterioration of the bridge caused by severe weather. Kaine will also tour the Launch Complex and Horizontal Integration Facility (HIF), where he will see a launch pad and an Antares rocket. A media availability will follow the tour.

Then, Kaine will tour Ruby Salts Oyster Company in Cape Charles via pontoon boat* to hear more about their work to serve consumers across the Hampton Roads, Richmond, Northern Virginia, Washington D.C., and Baltimore regions, and celebrate $250,000 in federal funding awarded to the company to help expand their customer base and improve sustainability. The funds will be used to purchase additional oysters and packaging, obtain operational supplies, increase marketing efforts, and hire new employees.

Following the tour, Kaine will host a roundtable discussion with local oyster growers to discuss their experiences in the industry. Kaine has long supported seafood businesses in the region. In January, Kaine met with Department of Labor (DOL) Secretary Marty Walsh to discuss workforce challenges for Virginia’s seafood industry and urged DOL to consider reforms to the H-2B lottery that would make the process easier to use for small family businesses like seafood processors to meet their seasonal labor needs. Last year, Kaine wrote a letter to Senate leadership requesting significant funding for Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts, including oyster restoration activities.

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