WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and former U.S. Ambassador to Japan, yesterday served as Ranking Member at a hearing on foreign service and State Department nominations before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where he delivered opening remarks and questioned the nominees on countering Communist China’s malign behavior, promoting U.S. and allied energy security, and advancing the U.S. government’s public diplomacy efforts.
The following nominations were considered: Karen Sasahara to be U.S. Ambassador to Kuwait, Elizabeth Rood to be U.S. Ambassador to Turkmenistan, Martina Anna Tkadlec Strong to be U.S. Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Elizabeth Allen to be Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy, and Hugo Yue-Ho Yon to be U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Maldives.
Opening remarks as prepared for delivery:
Mr. Chairman, I want to thank the nominees for appearing before this Committee today and for their willingness to serve our great nation.
Today we consider nominees for five important positions.
First of all, I want to congratulate these nominees. If confirmed, you will have the unique opportunity and responsibility to represent the most exceptional nation in the world.
I would like to start with the nominee to be U.S. Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates. The United States and the UAE share a history of strong friendship and cooperation. The UAE is a very important player in energy markets and in regional security and regional commerce more broadly. I look forward to hearing from the nominee about how we can maintain a strong partnership while working to counter China’s growing malign influence in the region and Iranian efforts to destabilize the region.
I would like to turn to the nominee to be the Ambassador to Kuwait. Kuwait and the United States enjoy a long history of cooperation, and Kuwait will be critical to combating the malign influence of Communist China in the Middle East. I look forward to hearing from the nominee on this subject.
Next, I would like to turn to the nominee to be the Ambassador to Turkmenistan. Turkmenistan’s location and energy resources render this an important relationship for the United States. I hope our next Ambassador can continue to build strong diplomatic ties.
Turning now to the nomination to be Ambassador to the Maldives—the United States and the Maldives enjoy a friendly relationship, and the Maldives’s strategic location renders this a vital post. I look forward to hearing from the nominee on how they intend to strengthen this relationship.
Last but certainly not least, I’d like to focus on the nominee to be Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. The Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs is tasked with leading the U.S. government’s overall public diplomacy effort, increasing the impact of educational and cultural exchange, and developing and utilizing new technologies to improve the efficiency of public diplomacy programs. I look forward to hearing your plan on leveraging this position to advance America’s interests.
To all five nominees, again, thank you for serving our nation and for answering the questions of the Committee today. I look forward to hearing your testimony.
Mr. Chairman, I yield my time back to you.