On Tuesday, December 5th, the Polish American Congress (PAC) hosted a Polish
American Congressional Tribute – an appreciation ceremony during which forty
U.S. Senators and Representatives were honored for their active involvement
in legislative initiatives to benefit Polish Americans and Poland during the
second session of the 109 th Congress. The PAC presented the selected
legislators with a token of appreciation – a special volume showcasing
private "Polish Art Collections in America".
The following legislators were honored in the U.S. Senate: Richard Durbin
(D-IL), William Frist (R-TN), Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Richard Lugar (R-IN),
Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Rick Santorum (R-PA), Debbie
Stabenow (D-MI), Barack Obama (D-IL), George V. Voinovich (R-OH).
Honored in the U.S. House of Representatives were: Shelley Berkley (D-NV),
Madeleine Z. Bordallo (D-GU), Dan Burton (R-IN), Joseph Crowley (D-NY), Jo
Ann Davis (R-VA), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL), John D. Dingell (D-MI), Rahm
Emanuel (D-IL), Phil English (R-PA), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Brian Higgins
(D-NY), Tim Holden (D-PA), Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH),
Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH), Tom Lantos (D-CA), James Leach (R-IA), Dan
Lipinski (D-IL), Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), Michael
R. McNulty (D-NY), Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ), Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-NJ), Bobby
Rush (D-IL), Janice D. Schakowsky (D-IL), John Shimkus (R-IL), Christopher
H. Smith (R-NJ), Peter J. Visclosky (D-IN), Diane E. Watson (D-CA), and
Robert Wexler (D-FL).
All of the honored Members of Congress were selected based on their
involvement as sponsors or cosponsors in legislative initiatives of benefit
to Polish Americans and Poland. These initiatives included corresponding
efforts by both the House and the Senate (the inclusion of Poland in the
Visa Waiver Program, a US-Poland Parliamentary Youth Exchange Program,
Honorary Citizenship for General Pulaski, Resolution recognizing the
accomplishments of Ignacy Jan Paderewski and Resolution recognizing the 25th
anniversary of strikes in Poland in 1980 and the birth of Solidarity). The
specific initiative in the U.S. Senate was a resolution designating December
13, 2006 as a Day of Remembrance; while in the U.S. House, those included:
The Congressional Poland Caucus, Congressional Caucus on Central and Eastern
Europe, and Support for the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw.
Attending the event, to personally accept an award from the President of the
Polish American Congress, Mr. Frank Spula, who together with the National
Executive Director, Mr. Les Kuczynski, flew in from Chicago for the
occasion, were: Representatives Shelley Berkley, Rahm Emanuel, Paul
Kanjorski, Marcy Kaptur, Dennis Kucinich, Daniel Lipinski, Janice
Schakowsky, and Paul Visclosky. Other honorees, who could not participate in
person, were represented by their staff members.
The reception held on Capitol Hill attracted a hundred plus gathering
composed of: Members of U.S. Congress, representatives of the diplomatic
community, including His Excellency Janusz Reiter of the Embassy of Poland,
H.E. András Simonyi, the Ambassador of Hungary and Dr. Kornelija
Jurgaitiene, Charge d'Affaires a.i. of Lithuania to the United States and
Mexico. Present also were officers of the Polish American Congress,
including representatives of the National Executive Committee: Mr. Anthony
Bajdek, VP for American Affairs, Mr. Jerzy Rozalski, VP for Public Affairs,
Mr.Ludwik Wnekowicz, VP for Polish Affairs (who also donated all of the
book-awards), and Mr. Wallace Zielinski, Secretary; members of the PAC
Washington Metropolitan Area Division; representatives of the Central East
European Coalition, as well as many other friends of Polonia and Poland.
Earlier that day, the delegation of the Polish American Congress led by
President Frank Spula, accompanied by Mr. Les Kuczynski and Dr. Barbara B.
Andersen, Director of Research in the PAC Washington Office, met in private
meetings with Senator Richard Durbin, Senator Chuck Hagel, and with
Representative Daniel Lipinski. The meetings covered issues of the greatest
concern to the Polish American Congress and Polonia, such as the inclusion
of Poland in the Visa Waiver Program, immigration problems, promotion of
trade of goods from Poland, and double taxation of retired Polish Americans
who moved to Poland.
Polish American Congress
1612 K Street, N.W. Suite 410
Washington, D.C. 20006
Tel: (202) 296-6955
Fax: (202) 835-1565
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