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McCollum, Ellison on Africa trips

WASHINGTON — Reps. Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison are spending parts of this week-long congressional work week in Africa.

McCollum is in South Sudan and Tanzania with Obama administration officials in order to, according to her office, "examine U.S. investments in ag development and poverty alleviation." The trip is sponsored by CARE, a development and aid organization.

Ellison, meanwhile, is in Somalia, in what the Associated Press deems a "rare visit by a United States politician." Ellison told the AP he was there fulfilling a promise to visit the country on behalf of Minneapolis' large Somali population (A Mogadishu news organization has a photo of him with Somali president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who recently visited Minneapolis as part of a U.S. trip).

Both trips are to countries with relatively new diplomatic relationships with the United States. South Sudan is the newest independent country in the world, splitting from Sudan in July 2011, and the United States only formally recognized Somalia last month.

Devin Henry can be reached at

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Comments (1)

Who's footing the bill . . .

Care or Congress? While Ellison might have a legitimate basis for visiting Somalia, given his constituency, as a resident of McCollum's district, I can only scratch my bald pate and ask why she is in South Sudan and Tanzania. Is she a member of a relevant committee or simply taking advantage of an opportunity to escape the weather? This piece might have asked, or better yet answered, this question.