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(Washington, DC) -  The Joint Baltic American National Committee, Inc. (JBANC), representing the Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian communities in the United States, welcomes California Rep. Adam Schiff as the new co-chair of the House Baltic Caucus. Congressman Schiff joins Rep. John Shimkus, from Illinois, in the leadership of the Caucus. Serving in Congress since 2001, Mr. Schiff  has been a House Baltic Caucus member for the past decade. As Caucus co-chair, he replaces Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who was not re-elected in 2012. Rep. Schiff shared this statement: “I am honored to serve as co-chair of the Baltic Caucus during the 113th Congress.  Our relations with the people of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have always been guided by our shared love of freedom and America’s historical concern for oppressed peoples.  Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, the Baltic States have become full-fledged members of NATO and the EU – shedding the past vestiges of decades of oppression.  I look forward to working with my colleague, Mr. Shimkus, and to getting to know the Baltic community, both in the Los Angeles area and around the country.” Markus Videnieks, JBANC’s Chairman, remarked that “We are honored that Congressman Schiff has agreed to Co-Chair the House Baltic Caucus.  The Congressman has consistently demonstrated a keen understanding of U.S. foreign policy and how events that occur abroad impact and interest American communities that trace their recent ancestries to foreign lands.” As the 113th Session of Congress begins its work, JBANC has begun a campaign to reintroduce Members of Congress to the Baltic Caucus, which was formed in 1997. On January 30, letters were delivered to the 84 new Members of the House, presenting issues of concern for Baltic-Americans, and inviting the Representatives to consider joining the Caucus. Currently, there are 42 Caucus Members. JBANC looks forward to cooperation in promoting the Caucus with the other Baltic Americans and organizations, and recognizes the Baltic American Freedom League (BAFL) in their efforts to persuade Rep. Schiff to become Caucus co-chairman. More information on the HBC can be found on JBANC’s website: http://jbanc.org or the HBC website at: http://housebalticcaucus.webs.com/   Karl Altau JBANC Managing Director  

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