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Mystic Aquarium Joins White House Forum on Key Federal Policies that Impact Communities

January 23, 2024

Mystic, Conn. [January 22, 2024] – Katie Cubina, Senior Vice President for Mission Programs, represented Mystic Aquarium at an invitation-only White House forum on January 10. The Aquarium was invited due to its outstanding work in the community. The event brought together over 50 local elected officials and community leaders from Rhode Island and Connecticut to discuss the impact of federal laws on infrastructure, gun safety, climate, housing, food security, and pandemic relief in their respective regions.

This forum, part of the ongoing "Communities in Action: Building a Better America" series, served as a platform to highlight how the Biden-Harris Administration’s policies and bipartisan legislative action have positively impacted local communities. Agency leaders, advisors, and legislators took the opportunity to brief the group, while community leaders shared heartfelt stories from across the region.

“It was an opportunity for us to share the direct impact that federal funding had on Mystic Aquarium and the communities that we serve in Connecticut,” said Cubina. Support from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and the state of Connecticut allowed the Aquarium to provide complimentary admission for 150,000 children and their families. In addition, a Summer Innovation grant provided STEM and social-emotional learning opportunities to thousands of kids in partnership with ten Boys and Girls Clubs in historically underserved communities. “This came at a critical time to address COVID learning loss and social isolation due to the pandemic,” added Cubina.

The Administration’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act will also benefit Connecticut and Rhode Island communities by investing in infrastructure upgrades that lead to greater energy efficiency and an expansion of renewable energy as part of the state’s climate action plans. Mystic Aquarium’s commitment to becoming a net-zero facility, advancing ocean justice, and building climate resilience through locally led efforts align directly with these policies.

Key figures who briefed the group included Senator Chris Murphy, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality Brenda Mallory, and Gene Sperling the Senior Advisor to the President and Implementation Coordinator of the American Rescue Plan.

In his remarks, Senator Chris Murphy said, “There is too often this disconnect between what we're passing and how people feel about government. And the narrative out there in America is all Washington does is fight and nothing gets done. And yet, we can tell this really unparalleled story of success – success I was proud to play a small part in over the course of President Biden's term in which these issues that were intractable in American politics for decades, all of a sudden got unstuck."

“It is a great honor and testament to our commitment to community that we were invited to participate in this prestigious event,” said Susette Tibus, President and CEO of the Aquarium. “The Aquarium remains committed to actively participating in discussions that shape policies impacting communities and looks forward to continued collaboration on vital issues.”