WASHINGTON, D.C. (Aug. 9, 2016) — U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum (DFL-Minn-4.) was the guest of honor and a featured speaker Monday night at a Washington reception celebrating the 49th anniversary of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
McCollum represents Minnesota’s Fourth District in the United States House of Representatives. The district and surrounding Twin Cities metropolitan area is home to one of the largest Southeast Asian refugee-immigrant communities in the United States.
During her remarks to the guests, McCollum offered praise for the U.S.-ASEAN relationship at Embassy of Laos in Washington reception. McCollum introduced legislation to normalize relations with Laos for the first time since the end of the war in Southeast Asia that passed Congress in 2004.
“In the House of Representatives, I represent tens of thousands of Minnesotans — Hmong, Lao, Burmese, Cambodian, Filipino, Thai and Vietnamese Americans — who trace their ancestry to ASEAN countries,” Congresswoman McCollum said in her remarks. “My constituents care deeply about the future of Southeast Asia — and so do I.”
The reception was hosted by His Excellency Mai Sayavongs, the ambassador of the Lao PDR to the United States, and held at the residency of His Excellency Budi Bowoleksono, the ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to the United States.
“As the relationships between the United States and ASEAN countries have deepened, I have been particularly pleased that the bonds between our country and Laos, this year’s ASEAN chair, have strengthened as well,” McCollum said. “Together, through dialogue and cooperation, the United States and the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations can create a more peaceful and prosperous world for future generations.”