Risch meets with Basque president, notes strong ties to Idaho

Idaho GOP Sen. Jim Risch met Wednesday with Basque President Inigo Urkullu, who is in the U.S. in part to mark the 100th anniversary of the New York Basque Club.

Idaho is home to a large Basque diaspora and Risch issued a news release about the visit.

“I was pleased to welcome President Urkullu to Washington, D.C., and converse about his country, his government, and the Basque peoples’ strong ties to the United States.  With their unique cuisine, language and cultural traditions, the Basque people have enriched the state of Idaho over the decades, and I was honored to host the leader of the Basques in my office,” said Risch.

The release follows:

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jim Risch met with the President of the Basque government, Inigo Urkullu, on October 9 in Washington, D.C.  In their meeting, Senator Risch and President Urkullu discussed Boise’s robust Basque community and their rich contribution to Idaho’s culture and identity.  Both men remembered one of Idaho’s dear friends and great public servants, Pete Cenarrusa, a son of Basque immigrants who passed away last month.

“I was pleased to welcome President Urkullu to Washington, D.C., and converse about his country, his government, and the Basque peoples’ strong ties to the United States.  With their unique cuisine, language and cultural traditions, the Basque people have enriched the state of Idaho over the decades, and I was honored to host the leader of the Basques in my office,” said Risch.

After more meetings with members of Congress and State Department officials in Washington, President Urkullu will travel to New York to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the New York Basque Club.

Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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