BRUNSWICK, Maine — Sen. Angus King, a founding member and co-chairman of the Senate Arctic Caucus, announced Friday that the U.S. State Department has tapped Portland to host a meeting of the Arctic Council in 2016.
“This is outstanding news for Portland and for the entire state,” King said in a news release. “Maine will now play a central role in the important Arctic Council conversations about how a changing environment in the High North can foster cooperation, increase commerce and help cultivate greater economic opportunity not only in Maine, but across the nation.
“I am pleased the State Department recognized and rewarded Portland’s great potential and I look forward to seeing Maine play a vital part in these discussions,” he said.
The State Department selected Portland to host the Arctic Council’s Senior Arctic Official meeting, set for Oct. 4-6, 2016.
The meeting is expected to include up to 250 senior arctic officials, including experts and possibly heads of state. Maine, Alaska and Washington, D.C., currently are the only places selected to host meetings in the next three years.
In May, King sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry strongly urging him to consider Portland and underscoring the important role Maine will play in arctic activities in the years to come.
In April, King and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the other founding member of the Senate Arctic Caucus, traveled with Kerry to the city of Iqaluit in Nunavut, Canada, where the United States formally assumed its two-year tenure as the Arctic Council’s chair.
Chairmanship of the council presents the United States with the opportunity to demonstrate greater leadership within the region, King said.