Ambassador confirmed

After more than three years without an ambassador to Norway, Senate confirms Sam Heins

Staff Compilation

After a long battle, the U.S. Senate has finally confirmed Minnesota attorney and human rights activist Sam Heins as the American ambassador to Norway on Feb. 12.

President Obama originally nominated Heins 276 days earlier. His previous pick, George Tsunis, withdrew following a confirmation hearing where he proved to know embarrassingly little about Norway.

GOP presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz of Texas originally placed holds on these nominations seven months ago due to his opposition of President Obama’s nuclear deal.

Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota has described Cruz’s actions as an unfair political maneuver and has repeatedly gone to the Senate floor to fight for the confirmation.

“I went to the floor every day for six days in a row to ask for consent or give a speech about it,” Klobuchar said.

“I am really pleased … We once again have a Minnesotan in the embassy in Norway. History has been repeated,” she continued, now that Sen. Cruz has lifted his hold and Norway once again has an ambassador from the U.S. after 869 days.

Along with Heins’s confirmation, the Senate also confirmed Iranian-American Wall Street executive Azita Raji as the ambassador of Sweden.

This article originally appeared in the Feb. 19, 2016, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.