Flad received on May 2 and 3 the sixth edition of the Legislators Dialogue, which brought together American politicians of Portuguese descent elected to the United States Congress, and to the state Senates of Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Legislators’ Dialogue is an annual initiative of FLAD that brings together elected Portuguese-American politicians, which aims to make known the Portuguese reality and promote interaction with the leaders of the various sectors of Portuguese society in order to stimulate interaction between the two sides of the Atlantic, and bring Luso-American legislators closer to seeking joint solutions in defense of the interests of the Portuguese-American community.

In this sixth edition, the Legislators Dialogue received 19 Portuguese-American politicians from different backgrounds, political parties and generations, including U.S. House of Representatives Member Jim Costa.

Day 1

On the first day, FLAD had the pleasure of receiving the new Ambassador of the United States to Portugal, Randi Levine, in her first public intervention since taking office. The Representative of the United States in Portugal had the opportunity to talk about her vision for the relationship between the two countries, and highlight the importance that Portuguese-American politicians play in this role.

At a time when Europe is once again facing war on its territory after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Randi Levine stressed the importance of nato countries’ cohesion in the response and in the near future, and highlighted the sign of solidarity and unity given by transatlantic partners.

“Portugal is an important member of NATO and at this crucial time it is important to have our closest partners than ever before,” she said.

A panel on the Azores was followed, from which most Portuguese-American legislators and their families originate, which was attended by the regional undersecretary of the Presidency of the Regional Government of the Azores, Pedro Chaves de Faria e Castro, and the president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Azores, Mário Fortuna, who discussed the challenges facing the region, as well as the opportunities that the local economy can represent for U.S. investment.

The second half of the day was filled by a luxury panel. First, legislators had the opportunity to talk with The Minister of Foreign Affairs, João Gomes Cravinho, about the relationship between the two countries, and the difficult situation facing Portugal and Europe with Russian aggression.

João Gomes Cravinho had the opportunity to tell legislators that “the transatlantic relationship is anchored in fundamental values” and “at the end of the day is the most important”, and that although the two countries have divergences, even the alignment between the two that ends up reducing the number of interactions, which is desired to be more.

A panel on business in Portugal was followed, with EDP CEO Miguel Stilwell d’Andrade and Luz Saúde CEO Isabel Vaz, who had the opportunity to introduce the leading companies and talk about the differences between Portugal and the United States, and also, especially in the case of EDP, about ongoing business and the state of EDP’s development in the USA.

The day ended with a meeting with the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, who underlined the crucial role of FLAD as a bridge between Portugal and the United States, and recalled that the war in Ukraine demonstrated how united the United States and Europe are, and how deceived were those who called into question their determination.

Day 2

On the second day of the Legislators’ Dialogue, Portuguese legislators had the opportunity to visit the Portuguese Parliament, where they had a meeting with the President of the Assembly of the Republic, Augusto Santos Silva, and then a guided tour to learn about the history of the house of Portuguese democracy.

During the afternoon, the elected politicians had one of the most lively sessions of these two days, with the Director General of SICAD, João Goulão, telling the Portuguese experience in responding to the problem of drug use in Portugal from the 1980s and the strategy he has carried out in recent decades and which has made Portugal an example for the whole world.

Lawmakers, some of them with communities heavily affected by opioid use, sought answers that could help them apply solutions in their communities and ended with promises of collaboration in the near future to resolve these solutions.

João Goulão told lawmakers that this crisis they face is an opportunity to review how they deal with drugs in their communities, as happened in Portugal in the 1980s.

The legislators had the opportunity to contact two elected legislators, Representatives Miguel Costa Matos of the Socialist Party and Joana Barata Lopes of the Social Democratic Party, from the perspective of the younger ones, with many issues on the Portuguese-American side to understand the differences in the systems between the two countries, and how in the Portuguese the deputies remain close to their communities.

The program was terminated by the president of the PSD, Rui Rio, who gave the opposition leader’s perspective on the reality of the country and what he anticipates will be the future.