Officially In: Don Beyer to Bern and Lichtenstein

An aerial photo of Bern.Image via Wikipedia


On June 11, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Don Beyer to be Ambassador to Switzerland and the Principality of Lichtenstein. Official bio released by the WH below:

Mr. Beyer was elected Lieutenant Governor of Virginia in 1989 and served until 1998. In that capacity, he presided over the Virginia Senate, earning the reputation as the most activist President of the Senate in Virginia history. He chaired the Economic Recovery Commission, the Virginia Commission on Sexual Assault, the Virginia Commission on Disabilities, the Poverty Commission and was co-founder of the Northern Virginia Technology Council. Mr. Beyer has served on the Virginia Board of First Union National Bank and the board of Shenandoah Life Insurance Company. He is currently on the board of Lightly Expressed, a fiber optic lighting design and manufacturing firm. An experienced and successful businessman, he has grown his family’s chain of automobile dealerships and serves on the Volvo International Product Development team. Mr. Beyer is a member of the Northern Virginia Business Roundtable and the Northern Virginia High Tech Council, which he co-founded. He currently serves on the boards of Youth for Tomorrow, the Washington Community Foundation, and the Red Cross.

Mr. Beyer graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Williams College, magna cum laude with Highest Honors in Economics in 1972.

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OpenSecrets.org
of the Center for Responsive Politics has named Don Beyer one of President O’s bundlers who has raised a minimum of $500,000. [Bundlers are people with friends in high places who, after bumping against personal contribution limits, turn to those friends, associates, and, well, anyone who’s willing to give, and deliver the checks to the candidate in one big “bundle.”]

If confirmed, Mr. Beyer would replaced Peter R. Coneway of Texas, a political appointee who was US Ambassador to Switzerland (also accredited to Liechtenstein) during Bush’s second term. You have to go back all the way to 1979 to find a career foreign service officer assigned as US Ambassador to this post.

Related Items: (additional items added from OpenSecrets.org on 6/19/09)

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Officially In: Vinai Thummalapally to Belmopan

Great Blue Hole, Coast of BelizeImage via Wikipedia


On June 11, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Vinai Thummalapally to be Ambassador to Belize. Official bio released by the WH below:

Mr. Thummalapally is the President of MAM-A Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of recordable optical discs. Prior to his role at MAM-A Inc., he served as the plant manager for Mitsui Advanced Media Inc., which also manufactures recordable optical discs. He has served in several other similar roles in his 31-year career, including as General Manager for WEA Manufacturing, as a Managing Partner of Clines Office Products, and as Manufacturing Manager of Disc Manufacturing, Inc.

He received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from California State University and completed post graduate courses in Business Administration.

* * *

The SAJA Forum (South Asian Journalist Association) has named Vinai Thummalapally one of the top Indian-American bundlers for Barack Obama, raising over $100,000 for the campaign. [Bundlers are people with friends in high places who, after bumping against personal contribution limits, turn to those friends, associates, and, well, anyone who’s willing to give, and deliver the checks to the candidate in one big “bundle.”]

If confirmed, Mr. Thummalapally would replace Robert Johann Dieter, a political appointee who served as US Ambassador to Belize during George W. Bush’s second term. You have to go back all the way to to 1990 to find a career diplomat assigned as our top gun in Belize.


Related Items: (additional items added from OpenSecrets.org on 6/19/09)

Officially In: Howard W. Gutman to Brussels

Main areas and places in BelgiumImage via Wikipedia


On June 11, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Howard W. Gutman to be Ambassador to Belgium. Official bio released by the WH below:

Howard Gutman is a partner with Williams & Connolly LLP. Identified as one of “Washington’s Top Lawyers” by Washingtonian magazine, Mr. Gutman’s practice areas focus on commercial litigation, including securities, contracts, antitrust, labor, banking, real estate, intellectual property, insurance coverage, international law and partnership disputes. Mr. Gutman’s clients have included Fortune 500 companies, start-ups, financial services firms, labor unions, pension funds, law and accounting firms, government entities, real estate developers, sports teams, and political candidates. He is also litigation counsel for Friedman, Billings & Ramsey, a top ten U.S. investment bank.

Mr. Gutman previously served as a Special Assistant to F.B.I Director William H. Webster, focusing on counter-terrorism and counter-intelligence; as a law clerk to Justice Potter Stewart on the United States Supreme Court; and as a law clerk to Judge Irving L. Goldberg on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Mr. Gutman has been an Editor of Litigation Magazine for over 24 years and an active participant in the ABA’s Litigation Section. He is a member of the Board of the Washington Hebrew Home in Rockville, Maryland.

He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Columbia University.

* * *


OpenSecrets.org
of the Center for Responsive Politics has named Mr. Gutman one of President O’s bundlers, raising more than $500,000 for the campaign. [Bundlers are people with friends in high places who, after bumping against personal contribution limits, turn to those friends, associates, and, well, anyone who’s willing to give, and deliver the checks to the candidate in one big “bundle.”]

If confirmed, Mr. Gutman would replace Sam Fox, a political appointee commissioned during a recess of the Senate in 2007 (an earlier nomination of Jan 9, 2007 was withdrawn Mar 28, 2007).

Related Items: (additional items added from OpenSecrets.org on 6/19/09)

Officially In: Mark Gitenstein to Bucharest

Arcul de TriumfImage via Wikipedia


On June 11, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Mark Gitenstein to be Ambassador to Romania. Official bio released by the WH below:

Mr. Gitenstein is a senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution, where he specializes in issues related to national security and civil liberties. He is also a partner at the Washington office of the multi-national firm Mayer Brown LLP. Prior to his work at Mayer Brown, Mr. Gitenstein was the Executive Director of The Foundation for Change Inc. Previously, Mr. Gitenstein worked as a Senate staff member for 17 years— both in Senator Biden’s personal office, and then as Chief Counsel with the Senate Judiciary Committee. He is the author of Matters of Principle, an award winning book on his experience managing the Judiciary Committee staff during the confirmation battle over the nomination of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court in 1987.

Mr. Gitenstein holds a B.A. from Duke University and a J.D. from Georgetown University.

* * *

Mr. Gitenstein was named an Advisory Board member of the Obama-Biden Transition Team in November 2008. OpenSecrets.org has included Mr. Gitenstein in its Revolving Door profile.

If confirmed, Mr. Gitenstein would replaced Nicholas F. Taubman, a political appointee who was US Ambassador to Romania during George W. Bush’s second term (2005-2008).

Related Items: (additional items added from OpenSecrets.org on 6/19/09)

Officially In: Alfonso E. Lenhardt to Dar es Salaam

Map of Tanzania, shown with the old capital.Image via Wikipedia


On June 11, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Alfonso E. Lenhardt to be Ambassador to the United Republic of Tanzania.


Major General Lenhardt (USA, Ret.) is the President and CEO of the National Crime Prevention Council. Prior to his work with the Council, Gen. Lenhardt was Senior Vice President of Government Relations for The Shaw Group. Gen. Lenhardt served as the 36th Sergeant at Arms for the U.S. Senate. He also served as the executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Council on Foundations. Capping his three decades of military service, Gen. Lenhardt served as Commanding General of the U.S. Army Recruiting Command. Gen. Lenhardt has also served on the board of several community service organizations.

He holds a B.S. from the University of Nebraska, a Masters in Public Administration from Central Michigan University, and a Masters in the Administration of Justice from Wichita State University.

If confirmed, General Lenhardt would replaced Mark Andrew Green, who was appointed US Ambassador to Tanzania during George W. Bush’s second term.

Related Items:

Officially In: Pamela Slutz to Bujumbura

Map of BurundiImage via Wikipedia

On June 11, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Pamela J. H. Slutz to be Ambassador to the Republic of Burundi. Official bio from the WH below:

Ms. Pamela Slutz, a career Foreign Service Officer, has served as Deputy Ambassador at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya since October 2006. Ms. Slutz joined the U.S. Department of State in 1981 and was tenured and commissioned as a Foreign Service Officer in 1984.

Her previous overseas assignments include: Kinshasa, Zaire (1982-84); Jakarta, Indonesia (1984-87 and 1999-2001); Shanghai, China (1991-94); and the American Institute in Taiwan (2001-03). She was the U.S. Ambassador to Mongolia from 2003-2006. Her domestic assignments (in Washington) in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs include: the Office of Korea Affairs (1981-82); the Office of China and Mongolia Affairs (1995-97); and the Office of East Asian and Pacific Regional Security and Policy Planning (1997-99). She also served as a member of the U.S. Delegation to the Nuclear and Space Talks with the USSR (in Geneva, 1987-89).

Ms. Slutz holds a B.A. from Hollins University and an M.A. from the University of Hawaii.

* * *

If confirmed, she would succeed Ambassador Patricia Moller, a career diplomat who was tapped recently to be the next ambassador to the Republic of Guinea.

Related Item:
President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts, 6-11-09

Officially In: Gordon Gray to Tunis

Sketchmap of Tunisia 1942Image via Wikipedia


On June 11, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Gordon Gray to be Ambassador to the Republic of Tunisia. official bio released by the WH below:


Gordon Gray served as Senior Advisor to the Ambassador at the U.S. Embassy in Iraq from June 2008 until May 2009. A career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Mr. Gray joined the Foreign Service in 1982. Prior to his assignment in Iraq, he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs from 2005 to 2008; his responsibilities included the promotion of U.S. interests in the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa, and oversight of the Bureau’s Regional Affairs office.

Mr. Gray was the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Egypt from 2002 until 2005. His other foreign assignments include Morocco (where he began his career in government as a Peace Corps volunteer), Pakistan, Jordan, and Canada. Mr. Gray served in Washington as the director of the office of Arabian Peninsula affairs, the office of peacekeeping and humanitarian operations, and the counterterrorism regional affairs office.

Mr. Gray holds a B.A. from Yale University and an M.A. from Columbia University.

* * *


If confirmed, Mr. Gray would succeed career diplomat,
Robert F. Godec (one of our three ambassadors who blogs) who was appointed to post in 2006. I went back all the way to 1956, the date when the Embassy in Tunis was established. I could not find a single political appointee to this post! Folks this is right on the Med!



Related Item:

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts, 6-11-09

Officially In: Richard J. Schmierer to Muscat

Map from CIA World Factbook

On June 11, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Richard J. Schmierer to be Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman. Official bio released by the WH below:

Richard Schmierer has served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs since 2008. Immediately prior, Mr. Schmierer served as Director of the Office of Iraq Affairs in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs in the State Department since 2007.

Mr. Schmierer is a State Department Foreign Service Officer and member of the Senior Foreign Service. He began his diplomatic career in 1980. His first Foreign Service tour was in Germany from 1980 through 1984. Mr. Schmierer then served a three-year assignment as the Public Affairs Officer at the American Consulate General in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia (1985-88). From 1988-1992, Mr. Schmierer served at the headquarters of the U.S. Information Agency, first as the head of the Middle East office of the International Visitor Program, and later in the Agency’s Office of European Affairs. From 1992-1996, Mr. Schmierer served as the Press Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Bonn, Germany. Mr. Schmierer returned to Saudi Arabia in August 1997, where he served as Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh, until June 2000. From June 2000 through June 2004 he served as Minister-Counselor for Public Affairs at the American Embassy in Berlin, Germany. In June 2004-June 2005, Mr. Schmierer served as Embassy Counselor for Public Affairs in Baghdad. In July 2005 he joined the staff of the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.

Mr. Schmierer holds a B.A. from Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, and Master and Doctoral degrees from the University of Massachusetts.

* * *

If confirmed, Mr. Schmierer would succeed career diplomat, Gary A. Grappo, who was appointed to post in 2006. I had to go back all the way to 1985 – yep 1985 to find a political appointee as US Ambassador to Oman (that would be George Cranwell Montgomery).

Related Item:
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Officially In: Martha L. Campbell to Majuro

map (rough) Marshall islandsImage via Wikipedia


On June 11, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Martha L. Campbell to be Ambassador to the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Official bio released by the WH below:

Martha Campbell has been a career member of the Department of State’s Foreign Service for 29 years. She currently serves as the Dean of the School of Professional and Area Studies at the Foreign Service Institute, training State Department and interagency employees in support of foreign policy priorities around the world. She served previously as the Executive Director of the Bureaus of European and Eurasian Affairs and International Organizations Affairs.

Ms. Campbell opened the Office of the U.S. Representative in Majuro in the Marshall Islands in 1987, after the United States signed the Compact of Free Association. Since she joined the Foreign Service in 1980, Ms. Campbell has served as Management Officer at U.S. Embassies in The Hague, Stockholm, Budapest, Majuro and Paramaribo, Suriname. She was also a consular officer in Rotterdam and Chief of the Political/Economic Section on a second tour in Paramaribo.

In Washington, Ms. Campbell served previously in the Executive Office of the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, as a Special Assistant to the Under Secretary for Management and as a Career Development Officer.

She is a graduate of the 46th Senior Seminar. Ms. Campbell received her B.A from Kalamazoo College and her M.A. from the University of Notre Dame.

* * *

If confirmed, Ms. Campbell would succeed career diplomat, Clyde Bishop who was appointed to post in 2006. The Officer of the U.S. Representative was opened at Majurio in Oct 21, 1986. It was upgraded to an Embassy Sept. 6, 1989. I can find no indication that a political appointee ever served in the Marshall Islands since we opened an embassy there.


Related Item:

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts, 6-11-09

Officially In: John R. Nay to Paramaribo

Map of Suriname.Image via Wikipedia


On June 11, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate John R. Nay to be Ambassador to the Republic of Suriname. Official bio released by the WH below:

John R. Nay has served as U.S. Consul General in Toronto since June 2006. Prior to serving in Toronto he served from 2003-2006 as Office Director for African Regional and Security Affairs in the State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs. He is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, holding the rank of Minister-Counselor, and has been a member of the Foreign Service since 1977.

Previously Mr. Nay had served from 2002-03 as a Senior Inspector in the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General, and prior to that as Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India from 1999-2002, and as Regional Consular Officer for southern Africa based in Johannesburg, South Africa from 1996-1999. In earlier tours of duty, Mr. Nay served in Washington, D.C. as Deputy Director for Pacific Island Affairs from 1993-95, and from 1982-1985 as an analyst on Cambodia issues for two years and on Korean affairs for one year. Mr. Nay also had previous foreign tours of duty as consular chief at the American Institute in Taiwan, in Taipei, Taiwan (1990-1993) and at the U.S. Consulate General in Calgary, Canada (1985-1989), as well as earlier tours of duty in Singapore (1980-1982) and Taiwan (1978-1980).

Mr. Nay holds a BA and MA in History from Andrews University and a Masters in National Security Strategy from the National Defense University.

* * *

If confirmed, Nr. Nay would succeed career diplomat, Lisa Bobbie Schreiber Hughes, who was appointed to post in 2006. The Embassy in Paramaribo was established on Nov 25, 1975. So far, no political appointee has ever succeeded in getting an appointment as US ambassador to Suriname.

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President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts, 6-11-09