Nomination: Gov. Brownback to be Ambassador For Religious Freedom, and Kansas Says Buh-Bye

Posted: 3:45 am ET
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On July 26, President Trump announced his intent to nominate Kansas Governor Sam Brownback to be the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom.  For those who asked, yes, that is a real office. The Office of International Religious Freedom has the mission of promoting religious freedom as a core objective of U.S. foreign policy. The office “monitor religious persecution and discrimination worldwide, recommend and implement policies in respective regions or countries, and develop programs to promote religious freedom.” 

In October 1998, President Clinton signed into law the International Religious Freedom Act, passed unanimously by both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Act mandated the establishment of an Office of International Religious Freedom within the Department of State, headed by an Ambassador-at-Large who serves as principal advisor to the President and Secretary of State in matters concerning religious freedom abroad.  The Act has been amended a number of times over the years, most recently by the Frank Wolf International Religious Freedom Act, which President Obama signed into law in December 2016 (see 22 U.S. Code Chapter 73).

The Twitters gave him a memorable send-off; here are some of the tweets.

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Confirmations: Gilbert (NZ), Barber (Iceland), Hyatt (Palau), Palmer (Malawi), Heflin (Cabo Verde), Chacon (DGHR)

— Domani Spero
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Late Friday, December 12, the U.S. Senate confirmed by voice vote the following ambassadorial nominees:

  • Mark Gilbert – to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to New Zealand, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Independent State of Samoa;
  • Robert C. Barber – to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Iceland;
  • Amy Jane Hyatt – to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Palau;
  • Virginia E. Palmer – to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Malawi;
  • Donald L. Heflin – to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Cabo Verde;
  • Arnold A. Chacon – to be Director General of the Foreign Service;

The Senate also confirmed David Nathan Saperstein, to be Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom in a 61-36 vote.

Two members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors were also confirmed:

  • Michael W. Kempner – to be a Member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors for a term expiring August 13, 2015;
  • Leon Aron – to be a Member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors for a term expiring August 13, 2016

 

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