Friends of Finland Caucus established into the U.S. Congress
The first Friends of Finland Caucus was established into the U.S. Congress on May 9th. So far the Caucus has sixteen U.S. Congressmen as members, four of whom act as co-chairs of the group.
The Speaker of the Parliament of Finland, Eero Heinäluoma, took part in the founding meeting of the Finland Caucus. In his speech Speaker Heinäluoma thanked the four co-chairs and mentioned three especially important political issues in the U.S. – Finnish relations: transatlantic trade relations, arctic matters and cooperation in defense.
The objectives of the Friends of Finland Caucus are to strengthen the ties between the U.S. and Finland and to serve as a forum for dialog among members of Congress and the government of Finland. It also has the task of promoting issues of mutual interest and supporting the interests of Finnish-Americans.
The co-chairs are Congressman John Carney from Delaware, Congressman Sean Duffy from Wisconsin, Congressman Dan Benishek from Michigan and Congressman Rick Nolan from Minnesota. The latter three states have significant numbers of Finnish-Americans as inhabitants.
In his speech at the founding meeting Congressman Carney mentioned the long history of the Finns in Delaware. The 375th Anniversary of the arrival of the first Finns and Swedes to the coast of America was celebrated in Wilmington, Delaware, on May 11th. In 1638 the joint colony of the Finns and Swedes was the first permanent European colony to be established in the area.
Congressman Sean Duffy underlined the strong Finnish influence in his state of Wisconsin in his speech. This matter was also highlighted by Congressman Dan Benishek, whom the Speaker Heinäluoma met before the founding meeting of the Caucus.