A longtime Republican activist from Iowa will be sworn in today as the United States Ambassador to Latvia. Chuck Larson Jr. was nominated by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate last month. The Soviet Union annexed Latvia in 1940 and the country just reestablished it’s independence in 1991.
The 39 year old Larson says the U.S. wants to provide support for the state-sized country as it regains strength in the region. "Latvia is situated on the Baltic Sea, right next to Russia," Larson explains, "so there are a number of very important issues for our nation – from energy security to emerging democracies. The United States has been very helpful from a technical assistance perspective as they work to establish their judiciary, which they have done, and the rule of law."
Larson says his role will be to strengthen American relations with Latvia and expand U.S. business opportunities. Larson says renewable energy and global warming are two major issues facing eastern European nations, "So, I think there will be great opportunities for Iowa from a trade perspective and from a renewable energy perspective."
Larson, who is a former chairman of the Iowa Republican Party and state lawmaker from Cedar Rapids, will move to Latvia soon with his wife and two young sons.