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President Biden announced his intent to nominate former NM Democratic Senator Tom Udall to be the next Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa. The WH released the following brief bio:
Tom Udall, Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to New Zealand and to the Independent State of Samoa
Tom Udall has a long and distinguished career in public service. He most recently served two terms as United States Senator from New Mexico (2009-2021) and served five terms as United States Representative from New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District (1999-2009). While in office, Udall was a notable champion for the environment, for Native Americans, for government and election reform and for resolving international disputes peacefully, if possible. Earlier in his career, Udall was elected twice as Attorney General of New Mexico (1991-1999) and also served as an Assistant United States Attorney. His Senate Committee assignments included the Committee on Foreign Relations, the Committee on Appropriations, the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, the Committee on Indian Affairs, the Committee on Rules and Administration, the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the International Narcotics Control Caucus. Udall has a B.A. degree from Prescott College, a Bachelor of Law from Cambridge University, and a J.D. from the University of New Mexico.
As pointed out elsewhere, there are now three former senators nominated for ambassadorships: Udall, Flake, and Salazar.
When confirmed, Senator Udall would succeed former Senator Scott P. Brown who served from 2017-2021. Since the 1960s, we could only identify three career diplomats appointed as chief of mission to New Zealand:
Francis Henry Russell (1904–1989) Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, June 5, 1957–November 28, 1960
Chalmers Benedict Wood (1917–1991) Chargé d’Affaires ad interim, November 1972–April 1974
Paul Matthews Cleveland (1931–) Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, January 10, 1986–April 28, 1989
— Ike Hajinazarian (@ikehaji46) July 16, 2021
The 'troubled optimist': Five things to know about new US Ambassador to NZ https://t.co/NtV3agifUx
— Newshub Politics (@NewshubPolitics) July 19, 2021
Tom Udall, a former Congressman from the U.S. state of New Mexico, has been nominated as the new U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, The White House announced on Saturday. https://t.co/clT7rUIXrg
— Samoa Observer (@samoaobserver) July 17, 2021