Lt. Governor Of Washington Leading 18-Member Delegation To Cuba In September 2016; Including Amazon Executive

From 4 September 2016 to 10 September 2016, a eighteen (18) member delegation led by Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen (D) will visit the Republic of Cuba.  In office since 1997, Mr. Owen is the longest currently serving lieutenant governor in the United States.  The governor of Washington is Mr. Jay Inslee (D).  

The trade mission was conceived by State Senator Karen Keiser (D- 33rd District; Kent), who approached the Lieutenant Governor.  

From Governor Inslee’s office:

Washington state looks forward to developing trade relations with Cuba.  As home to many of the best known international brands ranging from Boeing to Amazon and Microsoft to Starbucks we know Washington companies will be successful in the Cuban market place. We are particularly looking forward to exporting our world renown agricultural products and wines to the country. We also expect that many of our state’s smaller and medium sized businesses will find Cuba to be an attractive market for trade. 

This trade mission is arranged independently by the Lt. Governor’s office. Due to schedule conflicts, Gov. Inslee was not able to make a trip to the area at this time.” 

Although the visit is contextually defined as a trade mission, the focus of the visit, thus far, is healthcare systems, not export or import of products or services.  There are no representatives yet from product Boeing, Microsoft or Starbucks (coffee from the Republic of Cuba is permitted to be imported to the United States for commercial use).   

According to the Lieutenant Governor’s office, the Washington State Department of Agriculture was not interested in having a representative(s) participate in the visit as the Republic of Cuba is not “a viable market yet, shipping would be too expensive and the fact that the Pacific Rim market is really strong right now.” 

According to the Lieutenant Governor, the purpose of the “mission is to walk through the entire healthcare system, from the Minister of Public Health to medical universities to local clinics… plan to visit some pharma agriculture sites…. We will walk through the entire healthcare system, from the Ministry of Public Health to local clinics.” 

The cost per person is US$4,000.00, a portion of which will be used to underwrite the costs for the Lieutenant Governor and Mr. Ken Stamp, his Chief of Staff.   

Unknown if legislators participating in the visit will be using state funds, campaign funds or personal funds for payment for themselves, staff and spouse.  Unknown if representatives from Washington State University and Washington State Department of Health will be using state funds for payment.  Unknown if the former member of the State Senate will be using campaign funds or personal funds for payment. 

The Delegation 

Lt. Governor Brad Owen (D)

State Senator Karen Keiser (D) 

State Senator Steve Conway (D) 

State Senator Don Benton (R) 

State Senator John McCoy (D) and Mrs. Janet McCoy

Ms. Lisa Brown, Chancellor, Washington State University/ Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine

Ms. Paj Nandi, Director of Community Relations- Washington State Department of Health

Mr. Dan Dixon, Senior Executive & Vice President of Public Affairs- Providence (Catholic) Health & Services and President of Board of Directors for Global to Local

Mr. Adam Taylor, Executive Director- Global to Local

Dr. Erika Bliss, Chief Executive Officer- Qliance Management Inc. 

Ms. Lisa Thatcher, (Lobbyist- Lisa Thatcher, Inc.)- Qliance Management Inc. 

Ms. Cassie Sauer, Executive Vice President- Washington State Hospital Association

Ms. Cindy Gamble, Member- Partnerships for Native Health (Washington State University) 

Mr. Babk Parviz, Vice President-, Inc. 

Mr. Ken Camp, Chief of Staff- Lieutenant Governor Owen

Ms. Kimberlie Lelli, Legislative Assistant- State Senator Conway

Ms. Cheryl Pflug (R), Former State Senator

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