Last night, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse attended a dinner hosted by the Ambassador of Portugal to the United States, Nuno Brito. The dinner honored the Portuguese Minister of State & Foreign Affairs, Mr. Paulo Portas, who also attended. Senator Whitehouse, Congressman Cicilline, and others discussed Portugal's economy in light of European economic issues, and the longstanding ties between our nations. Whitehouse described the discussions as "helpful and productive."
"I thank Ambassador Brito for hosting this dinner in Minister Portas' honor. I was delighted to meet with the Ambassador and the Minister on behalf of the Rhode Island Portuguese community," said Whitehouse. "Rhode Islanders of Portuguese descent have helped make our State a great one, through their leadership in government, business, and civic involvement, and I was happy to celebrate their heritage at the Ambassador's dinner."
Whitehouse has long been a strong advocate for Rhode Island's Portuguese community. In the past, he has joined with Senator Reed in writing to the Portuguese Prime Minister to successfully argue against the proposed closing of Providence's Portuguese Consulate, and sponsored a Senate resolution expressing support for the people affected by the 2010 natural disasters on Portugal's Madeira Island. Along with Senator Reed, Senator Whitehouse also sent a letter to Secretary Clinton on November 28, 2011 asking her to consider the impact closing the U.S. Consulate on the island of São Miguel in the Azores would have on Portuguese Americans.