March 27-28 the Latvian Ambassador to the United States Andris Teikmanis visited Detroit, Michigan. On March 7, the Ambassador met with Governor Rick Snyder and noted Latvia’s interest in expanding cooperation with Michigan beyond the currently excellent cooperation in the areas of military and security. The Latvian Armed Forces and the Michigan National Guard have been working together since 1992 – they have had common military exercises and strong cooperation with the Latvian National Guard. Governor Snyder was of the same mind that there is a need to strengthen state-to-state partnerships in the areas of economy, culture and people-to-people contacts. The Governor also highlighted the areas of ICT and startups.
Also on March 27, the Ambassador presented former Senator Carl Levin with the Latvian highest honors – The Order of the Three Stars, Second Class. The Grand Officer of the Order Senator Levin has spent 36 years in the U.S. Senate and has always actively stood for the policy of non-recognition of the illegal Soviet occupation of the Baltic countries. Senator Levin, who served six terms, continued supporting the Baltic countries after they regained their independence by working towards the removal of the Soviet troops from the Baltic countries, ensuring funding for the demolition of the Soviet radar installations in Skrunda, as well as supported the Baltic countries on their way of becoming full members of the NATO alliance. The award was presented during a special occasion at the Honorary Consulate of Latvia in Michigan. Senator Levin’s wife Barbara, the Latvian Honorary Consul Andris Lācis and the Detroit Latvian community were also present for the occasion.
On March 28, Ambassador Teikmanis met with the leadership of the Oakland County, Michigan to talk about closer economic cooperation. One of the potential cooperation ideas was to promote friendships between the Latvian and Michigan municipalities.