“We took them to Hawaii last November,” Pam said. “Alex had just finished swimming lessons. He went snorkeling with us and kept up with the rest of us. He was so excited about it. ... Kiera is our singer. She sang the last couple of nights we cruised on the Lady Anderson. She’s a natural.”
Andy loves the water, too, but he’s more of a talker, Pam said: “The preschool ladies say he’ll be a pastor some day.”
The grandkids practice singing on a karaoke machine at Pam and Ken’s home. They’re also avid readers and in gifted programs at their school. All three performed during last December’s “Bethlehem Christmas Village” event in the marina’s parking lot.
In recent years, Pam has become an outspoken advocate for fishermen of all stripes, often speaking to groups about fishing regulations. She has spoken to the Senate subcommittee on Small Business and
Entrepreneurship about the negative impact of Red Snapper regulations on her family business, as well as other charter businesses.
“It’s an opportunity to share information that’s not just dollars and cents, but jobs and businesses and livelihoods,” she said. “The bottom line is, we have grown the fishery from 30 million pounds of Red Snapper to 200 million pounds.”
The Gulf states are arguing that federal limits on Red Snapper are unreasonable and based on inaccurate data.
“The difference (between state and federal data) is significant,” Pam said. “That’s why we want regional management of the waters. The states have proven they can do that and are responsibly managing the fish as well as the industry in every other species they control.”
The Andersons attend St. Andrew Baptist Church, and their faith is important to them as evidenced by the Bethlehem village program. But Pam also keeps the faith when it comes to her lobbying efforts.
“I learned early on, if God is with me then who can be against me,” she said. “I have to hang onto that when dealing with some people. To say they’re not kind is a nice way to put it.”
But she’s also pragmatic about the long term health of the Gulf fisheries.
“If we don’t take care of the fisheries, the opportunity to fish will go away, and that’s what we depend on,” she said. “Whether fishers, navigators, mechanics — they’re really good at what they do, and they care. They want what’s best for the fisheries as well as their customers.”