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Minnesota attorney Samuel Heins nominated to be U.S. ambassador to Norway

The nomination comes after Norwegian Americans objected to a previous candidate, who was not from Minnesota and had never been to Norway.

Samuel Heins

President Obama wants a Minnesotan, Samuel Heins, to be the U.S. ambassador to Norway.

Heins, a Minneapolis lawyer, was a big donor to the Obama campaign in 2012; he and his wife contributed the maximum $5,000 each, and he bundled more than $1 million from others.

His appointment is just fine with Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who last year was involved in stifling an attempt by the administration to appoint a different ambassador to Norway.

She and Sen. Al Franken backed the Norwegian-American community in opposing the appointment of New York businessman George Tsunis, also an Obama supporter. He’d never been to Norway, flubbed badly during testimony before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee and, ultimately, never had a confirmation hearing.

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Heins still must be approved by the Senate.

Klobuchar said of the Heins appointment:

“Minnesota is home to more people of Norwegian heritage than anywhere except Norway itself, so it is only fitting that the nominee to be the United States ambassador to Norway hails from our state. An incredibly smart attorney with an extensive background in human rights, I have no doubt that Sam Heins will be a great fit for this position, and I commend the administration on nominating Sam to this important post.”

The White House gave this bio of Heins:

 [He] most recently served as a Partner at Heins Mills & Olson in Minneapolis, Minnesota, from 1994 to 2013.  Mr. Heins was a Partner at Opperman Heins and Paquin from 1989 to 1994, a Partner at Tanick and Heins from 1976 to 1989, and an Associate Attorney at the Firestone Law Firm from 1973 to 1976.  In 1983, Mr. Heins founded Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights, where he served as First Chair and continues to serve as a member.  He is a Board Member of the Ploughshares Fund, Trustee of the PEN American Center, and Board Member and Vice Chair of the Center for Victims of Torture, which he co-founded.  He previously served as a Board Member and Vice President of the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota. Mr. Heins received a B.A. and J.D. from the University of Minnesota.