Thompson Offers Amendment to Increase Geographic Diversity at the US Coast Guard Academy
(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, offered an amendment on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives to the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2011 (H.R. 2838) to allow Members of Congress to nominate qualified candidates for admission to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Under current law, Members of Congress can nominate qualified high school students for acceptance to West Point, the Naval Academy, the Air Force Academy, and the Merchant Marine Academy but not to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.
In the absence of a congressional nomination process, the student body is comprised of mostly individuals from the East and West Coast. Many states, including Mississippi, are not represented in the Coast Guard's newest class. To foster greater geographic diversity, the amendment directs the Coast Guard to fill half of its incoming class—starting with academic year 2014—with qualified congressionally-nominated candidates. Though the amendment was eventually voted down (182-218), the amendment garnered the support of 21 Republicans.
Congressman Thompson released the following statement:
My amendment sought to ensure that the Academy attracts the best candidates from all over the country by directing the Coast Guard to partner with Congress, as done with all other Federal academies. As a Member of Congress, I feel obliged to help talented young people develop into our future leaders. The academies do an outstanding job of developing young minds and launching them on a successful path. While my amendment did not secure full support in the House, we did make some progress today and found some new allies. I will continue to seek opportunities to open up the Coast Guard Academy to more diverse candidates.
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Media Contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978