Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce Press Page

Floatchella: Pop-Up, Paddle Craft rally with live music this weekend in Mystic

The Downtown Mystic Merchants (DMM) and Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce (GMCC) will present Floatchella - a pop-up paddle-craft only rally on the Mystic River, this Saturday, August 29, from 1pm - 4pm. The two organizations have teamed up to help the downtown local businesses, some of whom have been hit hard by the pandemic. The public is invited.

It will take place north of the Mystic River drawbridge on the west side of the river, and outside the channel. All forms of floating paddle-craft are welcome, lifejackets are required, and we ask that motorized vessels stay clear of the event.

In order to make this a COVID safe event, participants will be asked to wear face masks and observe social distancing while on the water and on land. The organizers, band and all involved realize safety is of the utmost importance and will make mask-wearing and social-distancing a primary message during the event.

The event features the music of both “DJ Mello” and “I Anbassa & The Word Sound Power Movement” playing on the floating stage tethered to land on Gravel Street, for all participants to enjoy.

We are promoting four launching points: under the 95 highway bridge on River Road, on Isham Street, on Water Street across from the Daniel Packer Inne and on Williams Beach at the Ocean Community YMCA, where volunteers will be available to assist people and accept donations for the two organizations.

This event will benefit both the GMCC and DMM, and allow both organizations to promote the businesses that make up the Mystic community. If you would like to support the event by making a general contribution, please use the event’s VENMO: @Floatchella with the code 0929. Anyone who donates at least $20 will receive their choice of one item of official Floatchella merchandise. Sponsorships opportunities are available at $100, $250 and $500, as well.

The rain date for this event is Sunday, August 30, from 1pm - 4pm.

For more information, contact Bruce Flax at 860-389-0929

Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce Welcomes New Officers and Board Members

The Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce has elected new officers and directors for 2020. Bruce Flax, Director of Ticket Operations and Entertainment Marketing at Foxwoods Resort Casino, and former Mayor of the Town of Groton, will serve as chairman of its board. Shannon McKenzie, Director of Watercraft Programs at Mystic Seaport Museum will serve as secretary and Amanda Arling, President of The Whaler’s Inn and The Shipwright’s Daughter, and co-chair of the annual Mystic Outdoor Art Festival, will be treasurer. Re-elected to a second year as vice-chairman is Chris Regan of Olde Mistick Village and Regan Enterprises. Regan also serves as chair of the Mystic Chamber Foundation.

Also elected at the GMCC Annual Meetingare three new director: Annemarie Seifert, PhD, director of the UCONN campus at Avery Point; Shaun Mastroianni Regional Executive Director Specialist at Benchmark Senior Living; and Sal Ritacco of Ritacco Law.

For more information on our Executive Board and Board of Directors, please visit or call (860) 572-9578.


The Act Helps American Manufacturers Win Federal Contracts

WASHINGTON – In light of evidence that U.S. federal agencies have granted an excessive number of waivers to Buy American laws in the last few years, U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) on Thursday reintroduced the Act, legislation that will establish a centralized online hub to increase transparency and ensure federal agencies prioritize the purchase of American-made goods in compliance with existing law. Under current law, federal agencies may use domestic content waivers to Buy American laws to purchase goods or services from foreign companies only in certain circumstances: for example, when an American-made good is unavailable or will significantly increase the cost of a product. However, federal agencies overuse this waiver authority and there is currently no easily-accessible government-wide system tracking the use and abuse of these waivers by federal agencies. U.S. Representatives Dan Lipinski (D-IL) and Mike Bost (R-IL) introduced a companion measure in the House of Representatives.

The bipartisan legislation will direct the General Services Administration to establish a central, publicly-available website, at the link currently known as, to collect and display information about each requested waiver to Buy American laws. This website will allow manufacturers and other interested parties to identify contract opportunities and hold federal agencies accountable for abusing Buy American waivers. The measure also will give would give manufacturers the chance to challenge pending waivers sought by federal agencies. Last week, Murphy applauded the Trump administration for creating as an official U.S. government URL, but this legislation expands the requirements to provide more information and give U.S. manufacturers a better chance to compete for federal contacts.

“When the U.S. government is using taxpayer dollars to buy things, it should prioritize American workers and American goods,” said Murphy. “Since Day 1 of the Trump administration, I’ve been pushing, and I’m glad my calls to create the website as a one-stop shop for U.S. manufacturers looking for transparency were heeded last week. Our bill would go a much-needed step further. It would strengthen and provide transparency of our Buy American laws, which I’ve been working on since I came to Congress, and provide more opportunities for U.S. manufacturers to compete to boost our economy and help secure the national security supply chain. I’m glad to see our efforts getting more bipartisan support.”

“We must do everything we can to protect and maximize American jobs, and that starts by ensuring that our tax dollars aren’t used to create jobs overseas. Unfortunately, in the last five years alone, U.S. federal agencies have spent about $34 billion on goods manufactured by foreign firms, resulting in contracts and jobs lost to overseas competitors,” said Portman. “By improving transparency, the Act will encourage federal agencies to support American workers and American jobs by faithfully complying with Buy American laws. This is a bipartisan bill that is needed now to help support American jobs.”

“We streamline procurement and bring transparency to the process,” said Graham. “These important changes will bring a much-needed system of checks-and-balances to the current waiver process. I am excited to work with President Trump and my colleagues in the Senate to make sure manufacturers in South Carolina and across the United States are prioritized when it comes to the bidding and awarding of contracts.”

“Taxpayer dollars should support American-made products, and our federal agencies should lead the way in promoting U.S. jobs and products,” said Brown. “American workers are the best at what they do, and our federal agencies should always look to them first when awarding government contracts.”

In the last five years, U.S federal agencies have spent approximately $34 billion on goods manufactured by foreign firms. The Department of Defense (DoD), the largest purchaser of manufactured goods in the world, has spent over $200 billion on manufactured goods made by foreign companies since 2007. At the same time, the United States has been shedding manufacturing jobs that could have been kept in the U.S.

In addition to creating the website, the bipartisan bill codifies President Trump’s 2017 Buy American Executive Order and requires agencies to report on the implementation of, and compliance with, Buy American laws.

Murphy has been a longtime critic of the loopholes in our current Buy American laws that allow federal agencies to skirt the law and give federal contracts to foreign companies instead of U.S. manufacturers.