Possible first-ever all-women Senate delegation tours Serengeti, talks food security in Africa


A giraffe bends to drink from a puddle on a road in the Serengeti national reserve in Tanzania. (Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images)

It’s good to be a Democrat not up for reelection this year, not scrambling for your political life and not stuck visiting campaign spots in places you’d rather not go.

Better yet, it frees you up to go to the places you’d really, really like to see, like, say, Serengeti National Park in Tanzania.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), who chairs the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, is leading an all-woman delegation — possibly the first ever — on an 11-day trip to Africa via business class military jet, with stops in Senegal, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Rome. (Rome is the headquarters of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.)

The trip, Stabenow’s office told us, was to focus on “women’s economic empowerment, economic growth and development in the region”  and meet with senior government officials (including Ethiopia’s prime minister) to discuss food security and economic growth.

But the group also managed to squeeze in a couple days at the Serengeti park, looking at dozing lions, zebras, giraffes and even a “cheetah hunting in the bush” according to eturbonews. (Some staff were spotted working diligently to take photos of the animals.)

Four other Democrats were on the jaunt, according to our copy of the Tanzania Daily News: Sens. Maria Cantwell  (Wash.); Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.); Mazie Hirono (Hawaii) and Amy Klobuchar (Minn.). They’ll also “view elephants and rhinos in their natural habitats,” we’re told, and meet with folks fighting poachers. They’re also going “to learn about human-wildlife conflict and other issues of importance to local people,” the Daily News noted.

Beats fish fries and working the rubber chicken circuit.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.
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