U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) is a member of the official American delegation to Ukraine this weekend to witness the inauguration of Ukrainian President-elect Petro Poroshenko.
Miss Kaptur, whose maternal grandparents emigrated from Ukraine, said she plans to promote her idea to aid the “busias” — a Polish-American word for mothers and grandmothers — of Ukraine.
Miss Kaptur was appointed Thursday by President Obama to the delegation that will represent the United States in Kiev. The group left Friday afternoon from Andrews Air Force Base aboard Air Force Two for Kiev and will return Sunday.
Vice President Joe Biden heads the eight-member delegation, which includes three U.S. senators and three diplomats.
“I am honored to be able to help represent our country at this historic event,” Miss Kaptur, co-chairman of the bipartisan Congressional Ukrainian Caucus, said. “With thousands of Ukrainian-Americans in northern Ohio, our region has always had great affection for the long-suffering people of Ukraine. It is particularly poignant for me to be a member of the delegation.”
President-elect Poroshenko is to take the oath of office at the Ukrainian Parliament today.
Miss Kaptur said she has made at least a dozen trips to Ukraine in the last 41 years, beginning as a young woman with her mother when they went to the country, then controlled by Communists, to find relatives.
She said she is putting together an aid plan for the women of Ukraine who, she said, grow gardens to feed their families. She is trying to collect items and implements that can help them.
“I’m very intent on carrying forward an idea I have for humanitarian shipments to the busias, the mothers and grandmothers, who have held that place together by farming their little kitchen gardens in village after village after village. People don’t give them much play, political experts, so to speak. They’re interested in selling big tractors to Ukraine, and I don’t disagree with that,” she said.
She believes President-elect Poroshenko will understand the people’s agricultural needs. He is in the food business as the owner of a candy manufacturer.