Maine's Congressional delegation (left to right, Sen. Angus King, I-Maine; Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine; Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine; and Rep. Jared Golden, D-Maine) speak to reporters Friday at Bath Iron Works. Credit: Beth Brogan

BATH, Maine — Former U.S. Sen. Carl M. Levin joined Maine’s congressional delegation and Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer on Friday morning at the ceremonial keel-laying of the future USS Carl M. Levin, the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer bearing his name.

Just prior to the ceremony, Spencer spoke to shipyard employees, telling them, “Know two things, while you’re looking at yourself in the mirror, putting on your makeup or shaving: Your ships, your product, your work is on patrol, keeping sea lanes clear, providing peace through presence and allowing Americans to live the way that they want to live, and know that they appreciate it.”

He asked them to “repeat after me, as loud as you can: Bath Built is Best Built.”

Spencer did not take media questions.

After Levin, a Michigan Democrat who had chaired the armed services committee, and his family joined the delegation at the keel-laying ceremony in the shipyard’s Ultra Hall, Maine’s delegation spoke to reporters outside.

Of a USNI News report that the Navy is considering eliminating the frigate program, which BIW plans to bid on, to save money in the 2020 budget, Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins said, “I can assure you that Maine is well-positioned. We have two serving on the Senate Armed Services Committee and two on the Appropriations Committee. All of us are united in making sure our country has the ships it needs.”