U.S. Senator Chris Coons of Delaware

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  • The Senator's Week Ahead Schedule: March 31 to April 6

    The Week Ahead

    Tuesday, April 1 at 10:00 a.m. – The Senator will chair a Judiciary Committee hearing on nominations. The committee will consider four nominations for District Judge. 226 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. – Open to press. Contact Judiciary Committee’s Jessica Brady at 202-224-7703.

    Tuesday, April 1 at 2:15 p.m. – The Senator will attend a Foreign Relations Committee business meeting. The committee will consider several treaties on the avoidance of double taxation of income earned by U.S. residents working abroad, as well as a resolution on the humanitarian crisis in Syria. 419 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. – Open to press. Contact Foreign Relations Committee’s Adam Sharon at 202-224-4651.

    Wednesday, April 2 at 9:00 a.m. – The Senator will attend a Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee meeting on the need for commonsense drug sentencing reform. Delaware Public Defender Brendan O’Neill will join Senator Coons for the discussion. U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C. – Closed to press.

    Wednesday, April 2 at 11:15 a.m. – The Senator will speak on the Senate floor with Senator Angus King (I-Maine) in support of legislation to create a national network of manufacturing innovation hubs. Senate Chamber, U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C. – Open to press who wish to sit in the Senate Gallery. Note: Time is tentative. Watch a live webcast here: http://www.coons.senate.gov/floor/

    Wednesday, April 2 at 2:00 p.m. – The Senator will attend a hearing of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government on the President’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget for the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence and the implementation of Iran sanctions. 138 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. – Open to press. Contact Appropriations Committee’s Vince Morris at 202-224-1010.

    Wednesday, April 2 at 3:00 p.m. – The Senator will preside over the Senate until 4:00 p.m. Senate Chamber, U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C. – Open to press who wish to sit in the Senate Gallery.

    Thursday, April 3 at 10:00 a.m. – The Senator will attend a Judiciary Committee business meeting. 226 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. – Open to press. Contact Judiciary Committee’s Jessica Brady at 202-224-7703.

    Thursday, April 3 at 4:00 p.m. – The Senator will preside over the Senate until 5:00 p.m. Senate Chamber, U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C. – Open to press who wish to sit in the Senate Gallery. 

    Saturday, April 5 at 9:00 a.m. The Senator will deliver remarks at the Forum to Advance Minorities in Engineering (FAME)’s 3rd Annual National Robotics Day. Established by the DuPont Company in 1977, FAME sponsors programs to promote opportunities for women and minorities in science and engineering. Barclay’s Bank, 125 S. West Street, Wilmington, DE – Open to press. Contact Chonnie Blair at 267-975-3355.

    Saturday, April 5 at 10:00 a.m.  – The Senator will deliver remarks at a weatherization education event hosted by Delaware Interfaith Power and Light. The event is designed to empower residents of West Center City Wilmington to save on their electric bills by becoming more efficient in their energy usage. Temple United Church, 602 North Washington Street, Wilmington, DE. – Open to press. Contact John Sykes at 302-703-7086.

    Note: Schedule is subject to change. 

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  • What We’re Reading: In Africa, all conservation is local

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    The New York Times published an op-ed by Kenyan journalist Murithi Mutiga on Wednesday about the importance of engaging local communities in efforts to combat poaching. Community stakeholders, Murithi argues, could be conservationists’ greatest allies in the fight against wildlife-trafficking syndicates.

    Wild animals may hold a special place in our global heritage, but all too often they threaten the livelihood of the farmers and herders who live near nature reserves and game parks. Elephants routinely trample precious crops, and carnivores sometimes ravage whole herds of livestock.

    Poachers have astutely tapped into this reserve of local grievances — made worse by high rates of poverty and unemployment — and struck up partnerships with people in communities around game parks.

    ……

    Most Kenyans support conservation efforts. But in a country where arable land is exceedingly scarce and about a tenth of the land area is reserved for national parks and reserves, the authorities should take a more sophisticated approach in winning local support for conservation initiatives.

    African countries, the author notes, could learn from Nepal, which gives special rights to communities living around major national parks – including royalties of 30 - 50 percent of the proceeds from park entry fees. The result is a local community invested in protecting the park and a massive decline in poaching.

    Namibia has also had success with the community-based conservation model. The country's world-renowned conservancy program has empowered communities to create their own conservancies to manage and sustainably benefit from wildlife on communal land, including through tourism. 

    Senator Coons, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations African Affairs Subcommittee, has been a leading voice in the Senate for wildlife conservation and efforts to combat poaching in Africa. His third annual Opportunity: Africa conference, held earlier this month in Wilmington, featured a workshop on ending poaching and protecting Africa’s wildlife led by conservation experts from the State Department and World Wildlife Fund, as well as John Kasaona, a Namibian pioneer of community-based conservation. John was also a featured speaker at a Senate briefing on wildlife trafficking hosted by Senator Coons earlier this month.

    Click here to read the full article on the New York Times’ website.

  • Chairman Coons, Africa Subcommittee will examine President’s Power Africa initiative

    Energy poverty is one of the most significant challenges facing Africa today. Seventy percent of Sub-Saharan Africans ­ – and 85 percent of those living rural areas – ­ are currently living without access to electricity.

    Pervasive energy poverty undermines economic growth and development goals in health, education, and institution-building across the continent. Businesses have repeatedly cited the lack of reliable energy access in Sub-Saharan Africa as a more significant impediment to doing business than corruption, access to capital, and other challenges. More than 90 million schoolchildren across the continent lack access to this basic educational resource and 30 percent of health facilities are without electricity. Toxic fumes from kerosene ­– the chemical used to light homes – lead to more than 3 million deaths per year, more than HIV/AIDs and malaria combined.

    The Power Africa initiative, launched by President Obama in June 2013, seeks to double the number of individuals with access to electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa by producing at least 10,000 megawatts of more efficient, cost effective, and sustainable electricity generation capacity on the continent.  By 2020, it aims to increase electricity access for at least 20 million new households and commercial entities, enhance the energy resource management capabilities of partner countries, and increase regional cross-border energy trade.

    To achieve these goals, the U.S. government and private sector have made approximately $20 billion in commitments to expanding energy access and generation across Sub-Saharan Africa in the next five years, especially in the six Power Africa focus countries – Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, and Ethiopia.

    Senator Coons, chair of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs, will chair a hearing on Thursday to examine questions surrounding Power Africa’s scope, implementation and sustainability. The hearing will feature testimony from witnesses leading Power Africa’s implementation, including USAID Assistant Administrator for Africa Earl Gast, OPIC Executive Vice President Mimi Alemayehou, and Ex-Im Africa Director Rick Angiuoni. Additional witnesses include Tony Elumelu, Chairman of Heirs Holdings and Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation; Paul Hinks, CEO of Symbion Power; Del Renigar, Senior Council for Global Government Affairs Policy for General Electric; and Tom Hart, U.S. Executive Director of the ONE Campaign. Their testimony will help to inform the Foreign Relations Committee’s future consideration of legislation to provide congressional authorization for Power Africa.

    The hearing will be held Thursday, March 27 at 10:30 a.m. in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing Room, 419 Dirksen Senate Office Building. Click here to view a live webcast of the hearing.

    Senator Coons questioned Secretary of State John Kerry about funding for the Power Africa initiative at a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations earlier this month. Click here to watch their exchange.

  • The Senator's Week Ahead Schedule: March 24 to March 30

    The Week Ahead

    Tuesday, March 25 at 3:50 p.m. – The Senator will attend a hearing of the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch on the budgets for the Capitol Police, Senate Sergeant at Arms, and Secretary of the Senate. U.S. Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine, Senate Sergeant at Arms Terrance Gainer, and Secretary of the Senate Nancy Erickson will testify. 192 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. – Open to press. Contact Appropriations Committee’s Vince Morris at 202-224-1010. 

    Wednesday, March 26 at 9:00 a.m. – The Senator will attend a Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee meeting with Hispanic business leaders and local chambers of commerce. Topics for discussion will include job creation and strengthening the economy. Maria Cabrera, Wilmington City Council Member At-Large will join Senator Coons for the discussion. U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C. – Closed to press.

    Wednesday, March 26 at 2:00 p.m. – The Senator will preside over the Senate until 4:00 p.m. Senate Chamber, U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C. – Open to press who wish to sit in the Senate Gallery.

    Wednesday, March 26 at 4:00 p.m. – The Senator will attend a Foreign Relations Committee hearing entitled “Syria After Geneva: Next Steps for U.S. Policy.” Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Anne Patterson will testify. 419 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. – Open to press. Contact Foreign Relations Committee’s Adam Sharon at 202-224-4651.

    Thursday, March 27 at 9:45 a.m. – The Senator will attend a Judiciary Committee business meeting. 226 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. – Open to press. Contact Judiciary Committee’s Jessica Brady at 202-224-7703.

    Thursday, March 27 at 10:30 a.m. – The Senator will chair a hearing of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs entitled “Powering Africa's Future: Examining the Power Africa Initiative.” The hearing will examine questions surrounding Power Africa’s scope, implementation and sustainability as an important tool in the fight against energy poverty. The committee will hear testimony from witnesses including USAID Assistant Administrator for Africa Earl Gast and OPIC Executive Vice President Mimi Alemayehou. 419 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. – Open to press. Contact Jamie Serlin at 202-224-5042.

    Thursday, March 27 at 2:00 p.m. – The Senator will speak at a meeting on judicial nominations hosted by the Committee for a Fair Judiciary. Senator Coons is chair of Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Bankruptcy and the Courts. S-120, United States Capitol, Washington, D.C. – Closed to press.

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  • Senator Coons praises launch of Climate Data Initiative

    Senator Coons praised the President’s launch this week of a new Climate Data Initiative, part of the administration’s national strategy to combat climate change first announced by President Obama last June.

    The initiative is an effort to make climate-relevant information and resources collected by the federal government more accessible to the public. New datasets, web services, and tools related to coastal flooding and sea level rise will now be available on the new Climate.data.gov to help city planners, resource managers, farmers, hospitals, and businesses better understand and prepare for the impacts of climate change. An innovation challenge also launched this week will encourage entrepreneurs, technologists, and developers to create new tools that increase public awareness of coastal flood risks and other vulnerabilities.

     “In Delaware, we’ve already begun to see the impacts of climate change on our businesses, our infrastructure, and our local environment,” Senator Coons said. “We can’t fight climate change by denying it, but we can make our communities safer and our economy more secure by sharing valuable tools and information that will help us prepare for the changes to come. The new Climate Data Initiative will leverage the tremendous data-gathering capacity of the federal government to fuel private sector innovation and address our most pressing climate challenges. This is an important step that will help our communities take smarter, more coordinated action on climate change.”

    Read more about the White House’s Climate Data Initiative here: http://1.usa.gov/1gPGWd5

    Last week, Senator Coons and 27 of his colleagues held an all night session on the Senate floor to urge action on climate change. You can watch and read Senator Coons’ remarks here: http://1.usa.gov/N46Hyd

  • What We're Reading: Making the AIDS crisis worse

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    The Washington Post published an article Thursday on the public health consequences of recently enacted anti-homosexuality laws in Nigeria, Uganda, and elsewhere – specifically citing their negative impact on the fight against HIV/AIDS.

    It is the job of public health officials to account for the reality of human behavior in pursuit of the public good. Anti-gay laws complicate that task in practical ways. MSM who are afraid of prosecution and violence are less likely to attend meetings where they are given education, condoms and lubricants. Less likely to be honest with their physicians about their sexual histories. Less likely to be tested for AIDS and receive treatment and care. And more likely to inadvertently infect others.

    When Western governments lecture African countries about their retrograde views, it can feed a populist, anti-colonial backlash. When donors threaten to cut off aid, it can cause lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activists to cringe — fearing they will be scapegoated for the punishment of their whole country.

    What might be more effective is a forceful health-related message. This is an area in which civil rights — starting out with a simple zone of personal privacy — is a requirement of public health. Nations such as Nigeria and Uganda are committed to ambitious objectives in fighting AIDS. Those goals are unachievable while any group is targeted for discrimination and excluded from effective outreach. 

    Senator Coons, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations African Affairs Subcommittee, spoke out against the enactment of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill in February calling the law “a setback for human rights around the world” and appeared on MSNBC earlier this month to discuss steps the U.S. can take to combat the law and stand up for Uganda’s LGBT community.

    Click here to read the full article on the Washington Post’s website.

  • Video: Senator Coons questions Secretary Kerry on Africa priorities

    Senator Coons, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs, questioned Secretary of State John Kerry about funding for the President’s Power Africa initiative, the peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic, humanitarian challenges in Sudan and South Sudan, wildlife trafficking, and other Africa priorities in the State Department budget at a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations on Thursday. Watch the full exchange below. Secretary Kerry's remarks begin at 4:13.

  • The Senator's Week Ahead Schedule: March 10 to March 14

    The Week Ahead

    Monday, March 10 at 9:00 a.m. – The Senator will host his third annual Opportunity: Africa Conference with keynote speaker President Bill Clinton. The conference links Delaware businesses, faith communities and individuals with top experts on Africa, providing insight on trade opportunities and issues like human rights, sustainable development, food security, and global health. Chase Center on the Riverfront, Wilmington, DE. Contact Brian P. Cunningham at 302-573-6054.

    Tuesday, March 11 at 10:00 a.m. – The Senator will speak at the Judicial Conference of the United States. He will discuss his work to ensure full staffing of the courts as well as legislation he introduced to create 91 new judgeships to relieve overburdened courts. 1 First Street NE, Supreme Court Building, East Conference Room, Washington, D.C. – Closed to press.

    Tuesday, March 11 at 2:15 p.m. – The Senator will attend a Foreign Relations Committee business meeting. The committee will consider legislation to address the crisis in Ukraine. 419 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. – Open to press. Contact Foreign Relations Committee’s Adam Sharon at 202-224-4651.

    Tuesday, March 11 at 2:30 p.m. – The Senator will attend an Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch hearing on the FY2015 budget requests for the CBO and the GAO. GAO Comptroller General Gene L. Dodaro and CBO Director Dr. Douglas Elmendorf will testify. 192 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. – Open to press. Contact Appropriations Committee’s Vince Morris at 202-224-1010. 

    Tuesday, March 11 at 5:15 p.m. – The Senator will speak at a Senate Chicken Caucus reception with representatives from the National Chicken Council Executive Committee who are in town for their annual meeting. Senator Coons is the co-founder and co-chair of the Senate Chicken Caucus. Capitol Visitors Center, SVC 209-08, United States Capitol, Washington, D.C. – Closed to press.

    Wednesday, March 12 at 9:00 a.m. – The Senator will attend a Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee meeting with women CEOs. Topics for the discussion will include job creation, STEM education, and fostering women’s leadership. U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C. – Closed to press.

    Wednesday, March 12 at 9:45 a.m. – The Senator will testify about his FAST Voting Act at a Senate Rules Committee Hearing entitled Election Administration: Innovation, Administrative Improvements, and Cost Savings. The FAST Voting act would create a competitive grant program to encourage states to aggressively pursue election reform. 301 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. – Open to press. Contact the Rules Committee at 202-224-6352.

    Wednesday, March 12 at 11:20 a.m. – The Senator will speak at a meeting with the Delaware League of Local Governments. The DLLG is a statewide, nonprofit, nonpartisan association of city, town, village, and county governments that works to improve and assist local governments through legislative advocacy at the state and federal levels. Capitol Visitors Center, SVC 215, United States Capitol, Washington, D.C.

    Wednesday, March 12 at 2:00 p.m. – The Senator will preside over the Senate until 2:30 p.m. Senate Chamber, U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C. – Open to press who wish to sit in the Senate Gallery. 

    Wednesday, March 12 at 2:30 p.m. – The Senator will attend an Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing on the Department of Homeland Security’s FY2015 budget request. DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson will testify. 138 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. – Open to press. Contact Appropriations Committee’s Vince Morris at 202-224-1010. 

    Wednesday, March 12 at 3:15 p.m. – The Senator will attend a Foreign Relations Committee hearing on national security & foreign policy priorities in the FY2015 International Affairs Budget. Secretary of State John Kerry will testify. 419 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. – Open to press. Contact Foreign Relations Committee’s Adam Sharon at 202-224-4651.

    Wednesday, March 12 at 4:30 p.m. – The Senator will speak at a meeting with U.S. ambassadors to sub-Saharan Africa. Senator Coons will discuss his work and priorities in the Africa Subcommittee with ambassadors gathered for the Annual Chiefs of Mission Conference. State Department, Dean Acheson Auditorium, 2201 C Street NW, Washington, D.C. – Closed to press.

    Thursday, March 13 at 9:30 a.m. – The Senator will attend a Judiciary Committee business meeting. 226 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. – Open to press. Contact Judiciary Committee’s Jessica Brady at 202-224-7703.

    Thursday, March 13 at 6:45 p.m. – The Senator will attend a dinner discussion hosted by No Labels with guest Bill Gates and moderator David Brooks. G50 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. – Closed to press.

    Friday, March 14 at 5:00 p.m. – The Senator will attend the Delaware State Education Association Celebration of Leadership Reception. Dover Downs, Dover, DE. – Open to press. Contact Brian P. Cunningham at 302-573-6054.

    Note: Schedule is subject to change. 

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  • Video: Senator Coons talks foreign policy in Ukraine, Uganda on MSNBC

    Senator Coons, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Africa Subcommittee, joined MSNBC's Steve Kornacki Sunday morning to discuss the latest developments in Ukraine and actions the U.S. can take to combat Uganda's unacceptable anti-LGBT law, including scaling back assistance related to police training, opening up avenues for asylum for those fleeing oppression, and considering sanctions and/or visa denials for those who incite violence against the LGBT community. “We need to make sure that our rhetoric is matched by our actions,” Chris said. Watch the full interview below.

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  • The Senator's Week Ahead Schedule: March 3 to March 7

    The Week Ahead

    Monday, March 3 at 10:00 a.m. – The Senator will attend the 22nd Annual Sussex County Science Fair. The mission of the SCSF is to promote interest in science and scientific investigation for young people. The fair gives students the opportunity to pursue innovation and showcase their skills in the fields of science, mathematics and engineering. Sussex Academy for the Arts and Sciences, 21150 Airport Rd., Georgetown, DE. – Open to press. Contact Brian P. Cunningham at 302-573-6054.

    Monday, March 3 at 1:00 p.m. – The Senator will visit with Polytech High School students, teachers, and administrators and tour classrooms to learn more about what teachers are doing to prepare students for the 21st century workforce. Polytech High School, 823 Walnut Shade Road, Woodside, DE. – Open to press. Contact Brian P. Cunningham at 302-573-6054.

    Monday, March 3 at 8:15 p.m. – The Senator will attend the Whitehall Neck Sportsman Club's Wild Game DinnerLeipsic Volunteer Fire Company, 318 Main Street, Dover, DE.

    Tuesday, March 4 at 5:30 p.m. – The Senator will speak about manufacturing jobs at the American Small Manufacturers Coalition ‘Hill Day’ Opening Reception. The reception will kick off ASMC’s annual ‘Hill Day’ event and celebrate attendees’ manufacturing achievements. Senator Coons will discuss his work to grow American manufacturing as the leader of the Senate’s Manufacturing Jobs for America campaign. Capitol Visitors Center, SVC 212-10, United States Capitol, Washington, D.C. – Closed to press. 

    Wednesday, March 5 at 11:00 a.m. – The Senator will attend a Foreign Relations Committee working coffee with the Dalai Lama. U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C. – Closed to press.

    Wednesday, March 5 at 11:40 a.m. –The Senator will attend a Budget Committee hearing on the President’s FY2015 Budget. OMB Director Sylvia Burwell will testify. 608 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. – Open to press. Contact Senate Budget Committee’s Eli Zupnick at 202-224-5398.

    Wednesday, March 5 at 2:00 p.m. – The Senator will preside over the Senate until 4:00 p.m. Senate Chamber, U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C. – Open to press who wish to sit in the Senate Gallery.

    Thursday, March 6 at 10:00 a.m. – The Senator will attend a Judiciary Committee business meeting226 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. – Open to press. Contact Judiciary Committee’s Jessica Brady at 202-224-7703.

    Thursday, March 6 at 11:00 a.m. – The Senator will attend a Foreign Relations Committee hearing entitled Syria Spillover: The Growing Threat of Terrorism and Sectarianism in the Middle East. The committee will hear testimony from Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Derek Chollet,  and others. 419 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. – Open to press. Contact Foreign Relations Committee’s Adam Sharon at 202-224-4651.

    Friday, March 7 at 8:30 a.m. - The Senator will attend the annual state-wide SkillsUSA competition with participants from all of Delaware’s vocational-technical schools. SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. Competition winners will go on to compete at the National SkillsUSA event in June. Hogdson Vo-Tech High School, 2575 Glasgow Avenue, Newark, DE. – Open to press. Contact Brian P. Cunningham at 302-573-6054.

    Friday, March 7 at 10:30 a.m. - The Senator will co-host the Delaware delegation’s New Castle County job fair. The fair, which will bring together over 70 employers with hundreds of jobs to fill, will also offer workshops on applying for federal jobs (10 a.m.) and a motivational seminar by S. Renee Smith (11 a.m.). The fair will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Chase Center on the Riverfront, Wilmington, DE. – Open to press. Contact Brian P. Cunningham at 302-573-6054. 

    Friday, March 7 at 12:00 p.m. - The Senator will keynote the Port of Wilmington Maritime Society's luncheon. Senator Coons will discuss his work to support investment in the port and the ongoing Delaware River deepening project. Chase Center on the Riverfront, Wilmington, DE.

    Note: Schedule is subject to change.

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