Kevin Paap, President
Minnesota Farm Bureau

Doug Peterson, President
Minnesota Farmers Union

Robert Riley, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
University of St. Thomas

Matt Kramer, Ed.D, Vice President for University and Government Relations
University of Minnesota

Kevin Smith, President & CEO
Minnesota Orchestra

Natalie Volin Lehr, Director of Corporate Affairs
Carlson Rezidor Hotels Group

Aasha Wanless, Director of Trade Compliance
Polaris Industries, Inc.

John Wiehoff, CEO
C.H. Robinson Worldwide

Bob Zelenka, Executive Director
Minnesota Grain and Feed Association

Marvin Zutz, Executive Director
Minnesota Barley Council

Jason Adkins, Executive Director & General Counsel
Minnesota Catholic Conference

Patrick Mulvihill, Asst. Provost for Global Education & experience
Augsburg College

Tom Carman, VP Human Resources & Administration
Wenger Corporation

Dave Frederickson, Commissioner
Minnesota Department of Agriculture

Jeff Grev, Vice President of Legislative Affairs
Hormel Foods Corporation

John Guttery, Senior Vice President
Ecolab Inc.

Rodolfo Gutierrez, Executive Director
Hispanic Advocacy and Community

Lyndel King, President
Weisman Art Museum

Mike Noonan, Vice President
Red Wing Shoe Company, Inc.

John Oswald, PhD Global Health Committee Co-Chair
Minnesota Public Health Association




A broad coalition of industry leaders will be in Washington, DC this week encouraging lawmakers to lift the trade embargo with Cuba. Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council Director Paul Simonsen is among the more than 100 people from across the country making the trip.



Now that President Obama has re-eastablished diplomatic relations with Cuba, it's time for Congress to repeal the U.S. trade embargo. The well-intentioned policy has hurt the U.S. and provided a catchall excuse for the Castro regime to explain its failures. That's the view of Democratic U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer, who in a welcome display of bipartisanship are leading efforts to convince their congressional colleagues that lifting the embargo is in America's best geopolitical and economic interests[.] ... Speaking at a Monday event in Minneapolis organized by Global Minnesota and the Engage Cuba Coalition, Emmer took the long view on policy that's passed it's usefulness. 


Brainerd Dispatch: After Push from Minnesota Congressional Delegation, DOT Approves Flights from Minnesota to Cuba

On Friday, after an effort from Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, along with Reps. Collin Peterson, Betty McCollum, Rick Nolan, Erik Paulsen, and Tom Emmer, the U.S. Department of Transportation approved new direct flights between Minnesota and Cuba. As a part of the administration's efforts to normalize relations with Cuba, the U.S. and Cuba recently signed a civil aviation accord that will open up new opportunities for American businesses and travelers, including regular flights between the U.S. and Cuba, a joint release said.


MinnPost: Have the Political Winds Finally Shifted on Lifting the Cuban Embargo?

A lot has changed in the last 55 years in U.S. politics — which party controls Congress and the presidency, the size and reach of the federal bureaucracy, America’s rivals abroad. But through all that turmoil, you could count on one thing never changing: the embargo that prohibits trade and travel to and from Cuba.


Minnesota Farm Guide: Minnesota Soybean Growers Hope to Provide Soybeans to Cuba

Minnesota’s soybean leadership recently participated in talks at the White House regarding trade opportunities with Cuba. The talks occurred just ahead of a signing ceremony re-establishing the Cuban marketplace for U.S. food and ag products. “We’ve had very little action in the past, and now our administration has opened up a little bit more,” said Paul Simonsen of the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council.


Minnesota Farm Guide: Ending Cuba Embargo Could Benefit Region

After decades of a trade embargo against Cuba, there is little evidence that it had any impact on a change in policy or politics on the island nation. It’s time to seriously consider a different approach, especially following a recent report that indicates lifting the embargo could be beneficial for the Northern Plains states that produce wheat, corn and soybeans.


twin cities pioneer press: with historic visit, cuba takes center stage in minnesota politics

An island more than 1,600 miles from St. Paul dominated politics in Minnesota on Monday. President Barack Obama and three of Minnesota's members of Congress were in Cuba, the first such visit by a sitting U.S. president since Calvin Coolidge in the 1920s. But while Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Reps. Tom Emmer and Rick Nolan extolled opening ties with the autocratic island nation, Nolan's opponent in November's election said outreach to the island's ruling Castro family is misguided and "dangerous." 


duluth news tribune: minnesota lawmakers getting warm welcome in cuba

A historic trade trip to Cuba is going well, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., say. They're optimistic that Congressional efforts to ease restrictions on exports will go well, too. Klobuchar and Emmer held a conference call with the news media Monday afternoon. The two spoke from Cuba, where they're part of a trade mission with President Barack Obama. Klobuchar and Emmer are leading sponsors of proposed Senate and House legislation that would lift the current U.S. trade embargo on Cuba and allow more U.S. exports there. 


cbs minnesota: Sun country may offer nonstop flights from minneapolis to cuba 

Flying nonstop from Minneapolis to Cuba? It's now possible. That's if the federal government approves a request from Sun Country Airlines. Twin Cities-based Sun Country Airlines is trying to make that happen, bidding on four possible flights, two nonstops and two that would involve a stop in Fort Myers. The Mendota Heights-based airline is among the U.S. airlines submitting route bids to the Department of Transportation. 


cbs minnesota: klobuchar, emmer headed to cuba alongside obama

The Minnesota members of Congress will be going to Cuba with President Barack Obama next week. According to the offices of Republican Rep. Tom Emmer and Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar, both lawmakers will be with other Republican and Democratic leaders traveling to the island nation for two days. Obama is trying to restore ties with Cuba after more than 50 years of Cold War tensions. 

KSTP ABC 5: Minnesota Businesses Looking to Increase Opportunities in Cuba

Our business community is starting what they call an "Engage Cuba Coalition." The organization is a way to strengthen ties to the country even though the travel and trade embargo remains in place.


In Minnesota, Senator Amy Klobuchar and Representative Tom Emmer just returned back from a trip to Cuba with President Barack Obama. Klobuchar said lifting the trade embargo would allow American producers and companies to thrive. She said there’s a need for agricultural goods that Minnesota producers could supply. Upon Emmer and Klobuchar’s return, Engage Cuba launched a state council in Minnesota Monday. In addition to announcing Minnesota’s Engage Cuba State Council, there was also an extended discussion that examined how lifting the trade embargo would benefit Minnesota businesses and agriculture.



Monday morning, both Senator Klobuchar and Congressman Emmer spoke to a newly formed coalition in Minneapolis called the Engage Cuba State Council. The group is made of business, academic and community leaders who want to establish a business relationship with Cuba.



Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) President, Doug Peterson has been nominated by Senator Amy Klobuchar and Congressman Tom Emmer to be a member of the Engage Cuba Minnesota State Council. The Minnesota Council will join other state councils that have formed in the states of Tennessee, Louisiana, and Ohio. 



Speaking at a Monday event in Minneapolis organized by Global Minnesota and the Engage Cuba Coalition, Emmer took the long view on policy that's passed its usefulness. ... Klobuchar, who joined Emmer as part of a congressional delegation that accompanied Obama on his historic trip to Cuba last week, observed that the American people "are ahead of their government as they are in Cuba." 



With the improving relationship between the U.S. and Cuba, a group of Duluth students is heading to the island nation to see for themselves the economic opportunities there. 13 business grad students from the College of Saint Scholastica are traveling to Cuba this week to complete their "Capstone" project and get a handle on how people can take advantage of the newly blossoming relationship. Since President Obama traveled to Cuba, Minnesota has seen improvement in its relationship with the island nation.


daily globe: minnesota ag commissioner hopeful for more trade with cuba

When Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture Dave Frederickson visited Cuba he had to put his past beliefs about the country behind him. "I'm old enough to remember the revolution. Your dukes are up a little bit," Frederickson said this week at the Willmar Rotary Club meeting. But when he arrived in Cuba he was met by smiles. "You got there and you're welcomed with open arms by the people," Frederickson said. 


minnesota daily: carlson students return from cuban business trip

A group of 30 University of Minnesota students spent their spring breaks in Cuba riding around in cars from the '50s, interacting with locals and soaking in a country previously cut off form the United States. The trip was part of an entrepreneurial management class through the Carlson School of Management, in which students took in Cuban culture and pitched new ideas to local entrepreneurs to help them run businesses. 


WJTV 12: amy klobuchar, minnesota senator, urges rule changes so u.s. hotels can operate in cuba

A U.S. senator is urging the Obama administration to ease restrictions on investment in Cuba so American hotels can operate in the island nation. Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, says that as diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba improve, business opportunities will grow. 


mankato free press: our view: pragmatism and profit in cuba

Obama has loosened the embargo with executive actions, but officially lifting it will require congressional action. Judging from the Minnesotans who accompanied the president to Cuba this week, this state's congressional delegation favors lifting the embargo; Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Reps. Rick Nolan and tom Emmer were among the 40 members of Congress who went to Cuba with the president. 


minnpost: let's beef up trade with cuba, ag commissioner says

Old habits die hard, but they do die. When Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture Dave Frederickson visited Cuba, he admitted, "your dukes are up a bit."


Twin Cities Business Journal: MN Businesses, Leaders Join Forces To Support Open US-Cuba Relations

James Williams, President of Engage Cuba said in the release: "Minnesota’s agriculture, biomedical, and energy sectors are thriving. Opening up trade to Cuba and expanding investment opportunities for Minnesota businesses is critical to helping local businesses and the Cuban people."


Representative Betty Mccollum (D-MN-4) Cosponsor of H.R. 525 Cuba Agricultural Exports Act

Representative Betty Mccollum (D-MN-4)

Cosponsor of H.R. 525 Cuba Agricultural Exports Act

Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN-5) Cosponsor of H.R. 525 Cuba Agricultural Exports Act

Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN-5)

Cosponsor of H.R. 525 Cuba Agricultural Exports Act

Representative Richard Nolan (D-MN-8) Cosponsors H.R. 351 Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act

Representative Richard Nolan (D-MN-8)

Cosponsors H.R. 351 Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act

Representative Jason Lewis (R-MN-2) Cosponsors H.R. 442 Cuba Trade Act

Representative Jason Lewis (R-MN-2)

Cosponsors H.R. 442 Cuba Trade Act