WASHINGTON — While most lawmakers find there’s no place like home for the July 4 holidays, especially with just five months to go until the November elections., two Minnesotans are taking treks to the far side of the world.
Rep. Keith Ellison, a member of the House Democracy Partnership, will take a trip with other members of that group to Africa, stamping his passport in Senegal, Liberia, Kenya and Tanzania.
The HDP is an official House organization that Ellison spokesman Micah Clemens said “works through peer-to-peer partnerships with emerging democratic legislatures to assist in the development of the building blocks of legislative government: oversight, transparency, accountability, effective legislation, and responsiveness to constituents.” This will be Ellison’s third HDP trip, he went to Africa in 2008 and Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2009.
Sen. Al Franken will head to Vietnam and Laos, where in the latter country he’s scheduled to discuss the forced repatriation of Hmong asylum seekers from Thailand to Laos.
The rest of the delegation will largely be in their districts for the July 4th recess, which runs the week after Independence Day. Not surprisingly, parade walks are on tap for all of them (and, for House members, their challengers).
Rep. Collin Peterson will continue with preliminary meetings to discuss the 2012 Farm Bill with a session in North Dakota while Rep. Jim Oberstar takes the award for things I’d rather be doing, heading off to the Boundary Waters on a camping trip.