Government

Blum joins Congressional Slovak Caucus

Grassley, Loebsack also members

(File Photo) Rod Blum, then a Republican candidate for U.S. Congress in Iowa’s 1st District, spoke at a campaign rally at the Czech & Slovak Museum & Library in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, May 21, 2014. (Adam Wesley/The Gazette-KCRG)
(File Photo) Rod Blum, then a Republican candidate for U.S. Congress in Iowa’s 1st District, spoke at a campaign rally at the Czech & Slovak Museum & Library in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, May 21, 2014. (Adam Wesley/The Gazette-KCRG)

DES MOINES — An Iowa member of Congress has joined colleagues in rebuilding the Congressional Slovak Caucus, which works to strengthen cultural and economic ties with Slovakia and address issues of mutual importance.

Iowa 1st District Rep. Rod Blum, a Republican, has joined Indiana Rep. Peter Visclosky in reconstituting the caucus that was last active about four years ago.

“With the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library located in Cedar Rapids and many Slovaks living throughout Eastern Iowa, this caucus will help to build on the strong ties between the United States and Slovakia,” Blum said Monday, adding that Slovakia is an “emerging economic power in Europe.”

The U.S. and Slovakia has agreements on security issues as well as economic policy.

Gail Naughton, president and chief executive officer of the museum, said she was pleased Blum had joined the bipartisan caucus dedicated to discussing and educating other members of Congress on issues related to Slovakian heritage, culture and economic development.

“The Congressman’s involvement is important to maintaining strong and friendly relations between America and Slovakia,” said Naughton. She was in Washington, D.C., visiting Blum’s office when the Slovak ambassador called on Blum to solicit his involvement in relaunching the caucus.

“I take it as another manifestation of vital relationship between Slovakia and the United States, two countries with strong bonds sharing common values of freedom, democracy and a rule of law, said Peter Kmec, ambassador from Slovakia to the United States.

Sen. Chuck Grassley and 2nd District Rep. Dave Loebsack have been members of a Congressional Czech Caucus, but it is not included in the list of current congressional membership organizations.

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