Udall named U.S. ambassador to New Zealand | Native Information
New Mexico to New Zealand: Tom Udall’s Public Service Adventures Continues.
Udall, who was a senior US Senator until January, was named the next US Ambassador to New Zealand and the Independent State of Samoa on Friday by President Joe Biden.
The appointment has to be confirmed by the US Senate, where Udall is of course known.
Udall, 73, retired early this year after two terms in the Senate. When he stepped down, he warned that he had no intention of giving up his interest in the civil service and was considered a top candidate for the position of Home Secretary under the Biden administration – a job that eventually went to the U.S. MP Deb Haaland left New Mexico.
His political résumé is long, of course – 12 years in the Senate, 10 years in the US House of Representatives, and 8 years as Attorney General of New Mexico.
A central theme of Udall’s career in Washington was the environment, but he was also a member of the powerful Senate Foreign Affairs Committee.
Udall, who lives in Santa Fe with his wife Jill, was unavailable for comment. In a statement released by the White House on Friday, he expressed his delight in his new role.
“Having devoted my life to public service and serving as a member of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee focusing on policies promoting democracy, international development and conservation, I am honored by President Biden for this next role in the service of our great Landes to be nominated, ”said Udall.
“Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa is an important diplomatic post for the United States, New Zealand, Samoa and the Indo-Pacific, and this position – working with one of our closest partners and allies – is an integral part of our close working relationship with New Zealand to face the challenges of our nations – including COVID-19, climate and China, “he added.
Far from the dusty trails of New Mexico and the marble columns of the country’s capital, Udall now embarks on a diverse island nation of around 5 million people, much closer to Asia than North America. Regarded by some as one of the most beautiful places in the world, New Zealand, like New Mexico, has many open spaces and environmental concerns.
Its location in the Indo-Pacific could become even more important as the geopolitical map continues to change in the 21st century.
New Zealand has deep ties with the United States, who defended the country against the Japanese during World War II. The two nations also have close security ties at a time when American influence in the western Pacific meets a growing Chinese presence on both the economic and military fronts.
When Udall left the Senate, he was open about his frustration with the political climate in Washington. He’d been in government long enough to have any prospects; his father Stewart was once home secretary and his uncle Mo Udall was a distinguished congressman from Arizona who has lived for 30 years.
“I think we should have done things that, because of the way the system worked, I just shouldn’t have done,” Udall said in an interview with The New Mexican late last year. “Are we getting to the things that we really need to achieve now?”
In his statement on Friday, Udall seemed excited about the challenge.
“This is a critical time for our country,” he said, “and my wife Jill and I are humble and honored for the opportunity to continue serving our country and we look forward to seeing it affirmed as America is in this important one diplomatic matter to represent Post. “