Preparing for the Rep. Shimkus Meeting

(3 minute read)

Nu, hello!

So, you’re taking the first step and preparing for the Ateitininku meeting with Rep. Shimkus. (or is it really Rep. Šimkus??)

That’s good, we need people like you to prepare for this meeting. This meeting is an incredible way to fight for Lithuania and for our Latvian and Estonian friends. So let’s prep.

So what's the format?

That’s right. We’re doing this on Zoom. Traditionally, most meetings with members of Congress are held in person, so this is going to be new for everyone.

If you haven’t RSVP’d yet, please email studentuCV@gmail.com and you’ll receive a link to the meeting on the date of the event.

We got the primetime slot of 8:30ET/7:30CT for the August 19th meeting, but we don’t want Rep. Shimkus to open up his link to an unprepared empty room, so we’ll start logging on at 8ET/7CT so we can start getting ready.

Who even is Rep. Shimkus and what makes him so special?

Rep. Shimkus is the jolly one on the left.

As a proud Lithuanian, Rep. Shimkus has taken upon the ‘labor of love’, as he calls it, to co-chair of the House Baltic Caucus.

He coalesced support in Congress to have Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia join NATO. That was never guaranteed, and now NATO has been a wall to keep the three Baltics from being invaded. So we should really thank him for that.

He has announced that he will not be seeking re-election this Fall, which means he is retiring from his 23 years in Congress.

What are we even talking about?

Rep. Shimkus’s staff know that we want to talk about 3 things specifically. It’s an open meeting, so if we decide to bring up anything else, that’s up to us!

House Baltic Caucus

The House Baltic Caucus (HBC) might be the strongest tool we have to fight for the Baltic issues. It’s basically a kind of club for Representatives to say ‘I support the Baltics, how can I help?’

Here’s why it matters now.

There are two co-chairs, a Democrat and a Republican. The Democrat is Rep. Adam Schiff. Remember him? He was in the news for being one of the leaders of the impeachment against President Trump about questions of collusion with Russia.

Well, Rep. Schiff might be in some hot water with Republicans for all that, so after Rep. Shimkus retires this year, we will need a Republican leader to take up the mantle and co-chair the HBC.

Last Fall, when members of the Lithuanian American Community met with Rep. Shimkus, he said he was still searching for a successor. We may have to politely pressure Rep. Shimkus to give us a new leader!

Nord Stream 2

I’m sorry, I missed the first movie. What is this?

Nord Stream 2 is actually a pipeline that is crazy important right now, even if you haven’t heard of it. Take some time to do some research, or just watch this 1 minute video by Ted Cruz that explains it.

Here’s what we’re up against.

Nord Stream 2 is owned by Gazprom, which is partly owned by the Russian government and its owner has close ties with Vladimir Putin. They’ve recently spent $1.6 million in lobbying to try to keep Congress out of the way from constructing the pipeline. That number is absolutely nuts, but also shows how important this is to Putin and his cronies.

Can we even win?

Well, we did last year. This year, we have a new secret weapon, you.

So we’ll be asking Rep. Shimkus to give us an update on what he knows about the pipeline and how we can help in stopping the construction.

Ateitininkai

That’s right, we should talk about us! Ateitininkai were kicked out of the USSR, and for good reason! Rep. Shimkus and members of the House Baltic Caucus should know who we are. 

Still want a bit more prep?

No worries. Join us on August 12th at 8pmET/7CT on Zoom and we’ll go over the meeting and make sure we’re all on the same page.

Or, feel free to write any thoughts on the Ateitininkai group page!

Finally, you can always free to email me privately at vytas@baltivist.com.

TL;DR

3 things are happening during the meeting:

  1. We’re asking for a new co-chair of the House Baltic Caucus & thanking Rep. Shimkus for his years of service.
  2. We’re sticking it to Putin and asking how we can help to stop the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
  3. We’re introducing Ateitininkai.

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