U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison flew into war-ravaged Somalia Tuesday for an unannounced stay inside the fortified compound of the Mogadishu airport, the first visit by a member of Congress since the Obama administration recognized the new government of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.
The Minneapolis DFLer, whose district includes 32,000 people of Somali descent, described it as a humanitarian trip to discuss refugee problems and U.S. money transfers, many of them from relatives in Minnesota.
For Ellison the trip continued a growing legacy of visits to global trouble spots, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt and the Congo. In 2009, he and then-Sen. John Kerry were among the first U.S. government officials in more than three years to enter the Gaza strip, where Ellison was filmed by Arab television stations carrying boxes of aid.
He followed up the next day with a trip to Israeli towns that had suffered rocket attacks from Gaza.
More on Ellison's Africa trip (and Betty McCollum's) in tomorrow's Star Tribune.
Star Tribune Recommends
More From Hot Dish Politics
The two sides are battling district by district in a race to secure the 68 seats needed for majority.
VP Joe Biden to visit Duluth Friday
Gov. Mark Dayton on Monday formalized his request that legislative leaders move quickly in presenting him a plan to address rising premiums in the individual health insurance market.
President Obama throws support behind Angie Craig
Rep. Roz Peterson, R-Lakeville, said at a Monday news conference that a constituent had contacted her after receiving a voter registration form from MNsure, the state-run health insurance exchange, even though the person in question is already registered to vote and does not purchase health insurance through MNsure.