Nominee: Former Senator Tom Udall to be Ambassador to New Zealand and to the Independent State of Samoa

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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:

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Biden Taps Former AZ Republican Senator Jeff Flake as U.S. Ambassador to Turkey

Thank you to over 500 readers and supporters who made our continued operation possible this year. Raising funds for a small outlet that is already open and free for all to read has often been the most challenging part of running  this blog. We are grateful for your continued support and well wishes. Gracias — DS

 

President Biden announced his intent to nominate former Arizona Senator Jeff Flake to be his Ambassador to Turkey. The WH released the following brief bio:

Jeff Lane Flake, Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Turkey

Jeff L. Flake is currently a Distinguished Fellow at Arizona State University and a Distinguished Fellow at the Sorensen Center for Moral and Ethical Leadership at Brigham Young University.  He also serves on the Senior Advisory Committee at Harvard’s Institute of Politics.  Flake was a Member of Congress for 18 years, representing Arizona in the U.S. Senate (2013-2019) and the U.S. House of Representatives (2001-2013), where he served on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee.  A frequent public speaker, he is also a former contributor for CNN and CBS News.  Flake is a Director of Taylor Morrison, a home builder in Scottsdale, Arizona, and a former Executive Director of the Goldwater Institute in Phoenix, Arizona.  Early in his career, he was Executive Director of the Foundation for Democracy in Namibia.  He speaks Afrikaans.  He earned a B.A. in International Relations, and an M.A. in Political Science, at Brigham Young University.  He is a recipient of the Gold Medal of Honorary Patronage from the University Philosophical Society, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) is reportedly  supporting “close Senate scrutiny of President Biden’s controversial nomination this week of former Arizona legislator Jeff Flake … Over the coming weeks, the US Senate’s Committee on Foreign Relations will consider Flake’s nomination. The ANCA will be working in a bipartisan manner to ensure that Flake’s complicity in Turkey’s denial of the Armenian Genocide is carefully scrutinized by members of this powerful committee.”
We can’t imagine the U.S. Senate not confirming one of its own or dragging this process long.  Senators have already offered statements of support and tweets of congratulations. This will be quick. It only took about a month for Max Baucus to be confirmed by the Senate for China in 2014; Yea-Nay Vote. 96 – 0. It took about five weeks for Scott Brown’s confirmation for New Zealand in 2017; Yea-Nay Vote. 94 – 4.  And about five weeks for Kay Bailey Hutchison to be confirmed for USNATO in 2017 (confirmed by voice vote). (See list of senators who served as ambassadors/or held diplomatic posts).
When confirmed, Senator Flake would succeed career diplomat David Satterfield who arrived in Ankara in 2019. The last non-career appointee sent to Turkey was Robert Strausz-Hupé (1903–2002). He served from 1981–1989 during the Reagan years. Before him, there was William Macomber Jr.; he served from May 16, 1973–June 15, 1977 during Nixon/Ford’s tenures.

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Related posts:

 

@USAmbNZ Scott Brown Gets Ahead of Bad News Over “Insensitive” Comments Probe

Posted: 12:31 am ET
Updated: Oct 27 | 12:44 am ET
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Stuff New Zealand reported on October 26 that the US ambassador to New Zealand Scott Brown faced complaints over ‘cultural misunderstanding.’

US Ambassador Scott Brown has fronted over mounting “innuendo and rumour” about a State Department investigation into his behaviour. Speaking to Stuff with wife Gail Huff at his side, Brown confirmed there had been an official “administrative inquiry” into his conduct at a Peace Corps event in Samoa in July.

It is not clear if the inquiry is conducted by HR, EEOC or OIG (we’ve asked but have not received a response) but whatever it is, talking to the local media, bound to be picked up by U.S. news media, is a calculated way to get ahead of the potential fallout from a probe that has not been publicly known until now.

We hope he’s learned his lesson that he’s not just some ex-politician from New Hampshire or Massachusetts anymore. He speaks for the United States at all times now until he steps down; and as with career folks who are considered on duty 24/7, the ambassador no longer has the luxury of personal views, only official ones. For Exhibit A, see @StateDept: Ambassador Friedman’s comment “does not represent a shift in U.S. policy”; for Exhibit B, see @StateDept on Amb. Friedman’s comment (again): “should not be read as a change in U.S. policy”.

Below is the official response from the State Department: 

The State Department takes allegations of misconduct seriously and we investigate them thoroughly. We hold all employees to the highest standard. The Office of Inspector General has conducted an independent review of the allegations and reported its findings to the Department. Senior leadership at the State Department has been in contact with Ambassador Brown and he has been counseled on standards of conduct for government employees, which also includes Ambassadors.

So hey, while we’re on the subject of “insensitive” or “inappropriate” comments, say…we’ve posted about this and more related to Diplomatic Security. Has anyone sent in investigators over there to see about Special Agent Sticky Balls and what he’s up these days?

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Ambassador Scott Brown Assumes Charge at U.S. Mission New Zealand

Posted: 3:33 am ET
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Former U.S. Senator Scott Brown was officially nominated to be the next U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa in April. His nomination was cleared by the SFRC on May 25. A couple of weeks later, he was confirmed by the full Senate. On June 15, he was sworn-in by the new Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan. This is probably one of the few nominations that went through the process in less than three months. Ambassador Brown arrived in Wellington over the weekend and has now assumed charge of U.S. Mission New Zealand.

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New Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa Scott Brown Introduces Self in Home Video

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Posted: 3:50 pm PT
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Six Trump ambassador nominees have been confirmed to date, including former Senator Scott Brown who was confirmed last week in a 94-4 vote.  It looks like State/IIP no longer releases introduction videos for new ambassadors. The newly confirmed ambassador did release a home video for his soon to be host countries of New Zealand and Samos featuring his family and pet.

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Trump to Nominate Ex-Senator Scott Brown as Ambassador to New Zealand

Posted: 3:38 am ET
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