Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid scored an unexpected invitation from Angus King to visit the independent senator's home state of Maine.
The invitation came after the Nevada Democrat conceded in a floor speech recognizing National Travel and Tourism Week that he had only once visited the state that calls itself Vacationland, with King presiding over the chamber.
"This industry's impact is not unique to Nevada. The presiding officer's state of Maine, people go there year round — it slows down a little in the winter time — people go there year round because of the beauty of the state of Maine," Reid said. "I've only been to Maine [on] one occasion, but I came as a tourist. I wanted to see that beautiful state, and I was able to do that."
@nielslesniewski From Maine-made shoes to cutting-edge destroyers, there’s plenty to see. @SenatorReid is welcome any time! — Senator Angus King (@SenAngusKing) May 5, 2014It wasn't all that long ago that the Senate's Democratic leader spent a lot more time in Maine, since that's the home state of George J. Mitchell.
More broadly, Reid was highlighting the enactment of the Travel Promotion Act and pushing for its reauthorization.
"As a senator from Nevada, I know how important the travel and tourism industry is to this nation. Las Vegas alone attracts more than 40 million visitors each year," Reid said. "All told, travel and tourism generates $45 billion in revenue for the Las Vegas economy, while employing 400,000 Nevadans."
"It's the same in virtually ever state in America. Tourism is either the No. 1, 2 or 3 driving influence, economic influence of every state," Reid said.