The President of the Baltic American Freedom League and constituents of Representative Elton Gallegly’s District recently met with the Congressman to thank him for visiting the Baltic countries and to extend an invitation to him to join the House Baltic Caucus. The Chairman of the House International Relations Subcommittee on Europe, Representative Gallegly visited Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia to find out for himself the situation in regard to Baltic qualifications to join NATO. The Congressman accepted the invitation and said that he would join the Baltic Caucus.
Representative Gallegly spent two weeks in August in the Baltic countries attending more than 30 meetings, visiting key military installations, including Adazi, and speaking with the leaders of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. During the discussion with the constituents, Mr. Gallegly stressed his long time and strong support of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and complimented the countries on the tangible progress they have achieved in the integration process, stating that in evaluating the three countries on the basis of stated criteria for NATO membership, he sees “no problems” for the Baltic countries and that all three are on top of the list of countries expected to receive invitations.
During the discussions, the Congressman noted problems with corruption that the three countries have experienced. He was very positive about the thorough and aggressive efforts the Latvian government is making in selecting the head of the anti-corruption bureau. The Congressman also spoke of the integration and naturalization process in the Baltics and noted that he has not heard of any serious violations of civil or human rights nor did he observe or feel any ethnic tensions in the three countries.
Mr. Gallegly travelled from Vilnius and Riga to Tallinn by car making numerous stops along the way to talk to local people and leaders. He was accompanied by his wife, Janice, and a member of his staff and her husband.He remarked that his interest in the Baltic countries was aroused in 1986 when the very first visitor to his local office, after his election to Congress, was a young Estonian man who came to seek his help in the fight for freedom and independence of the Baltic countries.
Representative Gallegly represents Oxnard, Camarillo and parts of Ventura, Carpenteria and Thousand Oaks.
The Baltic American community was represented by Ms. Dziesma Teteris, Mr. Juhan Puskar, Mr. Vytautas Fledzinskis and Mr. Valdis Pavlovskis.
During the August Congressional recess, the Baltic American Freedom League also organized visits to the offices of Southern California Congresspersons Brad Sherman, Xavier Becerra and Lucille Roybal-Allard.