Klobuchar and Franken supported Heins’ nomination to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to Norway, and Raji’s nomination to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to Sweden, and consistently advocated for their confirmations
Heins previously served as a Partner at Heins Mills & Olson in Minnesota and founded Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken today announced that the Senate voted to confirm Sam Heins as the new U.S. Ambassador to Norway and Azita Raji as the new U.S. Ambassador to Sweden. Klobuchar and Franken supported Heins’ nomination to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to Norway, and Raji’s nomination to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to Sweden, and consistently advocated for their confirmations. The U.S. has been without an ambassador to Norway for 869 days and in the case of Sweden, Azita Raji has been waiting to be confirmed for 478 days. Many State Department nominees for other posts have been blocked from consideration for months and years.
Heins is an attorney from Minnesota and founded Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights.
“Today’s confirmation of Sam Heins to be the U.S. Ambassador to Norway and Azita Raji to be the U.S. Ambassador to Sweden will reaffirm our nation’s longstanding relationship with these two key European allies,” Klobuchar said. “Minnesota is home to more people of Norwegian heritage than anywhere except Norway itself, so it is only fitting that the new ambassador hails from our state. We also have more than our fair share of Swedes and others of Scandinavian descent. I have no doubt that Sam and Azita will serve our country well. I vowed to go to the floor every day until this got done and request action. I was running out of Norwegian and Swedish facts and stories so this is a welcome development.”
“For far too long, the United States has been without ambassadors to Norway and Sweden,” Franken said. “Our nation shares a strong bond with both countries, and nowhere is that more evident than in Minnesota, which has the largest Scandinavian population in the country. That’s why we fought so hard to get Sam Heins—a uniquely well-qualified nominee and, not to mention, a Minnesotan—confirmed as Ambassador to Norway, and Azita Raji confirmed as Ambassador to Sweden. I’m confident that Sam and Azita will do a great job, and I’m pleased I was able to help get them confirmed. I look forward to working with both ambassadors to strengthen Minnesota’s ties to Norway and Sweden.”
Samuel Heins most recently served as a Partner at Heins Mills & Olson in Minneapolis, Minnesota, from 1994 to 2013. Mr. Heins was a Partner at Opperman Heins and Paquin from 1989 to 1994, a Partner at Tanick and Heins from 1976 to 1989, and an Associate Attorney at the Firestone Law Firm from 1973 to 1976. In 1983, Mr. Heins founded Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights, where he served as First Chair and continues to serve as a member. He is a Board Member of the Ploughshares Fund, Trustee of the PEN American Center, and Board Member and Vice Chair of the Center for Victims of Torture, which he co-founded. He previously served as a Board Member and Vice President of the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota. Mr. Heins received a B.A. and J.D. from the University of Minnesota.
Azita Raji is a philanthropist, community leader, and former international business leader. Ms. Raji is currently Commissioner for The President’s Commission on White House Fellowships, a position she has held since 2013 and the Director for the National Partnership for Women and Families.