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Udall appointed US Ambassador to New Zealand | Local News

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From New Mexico to New Zealand: Tom Udall’s adventures in public service continue.

Udall, until January the state’s first US senator, was appointed Friday by President Joe Biden to become the next US ambassador to New Zealand and the independent state of Samoa.

The appointment must be confirmed by the US Senate, where Udall, of course, is well known.

Udall, 73, retired earlier this year after two terms in the Senate. When he left office, he warned that he did not intend to give up his interest in the public service and that he was considered one of the main candidates for the post of secretary to the Interior under the Biden administration – a position that was ultimately given to U.S. Representative Deb Haaland, also from New Mexico.

His political resume, of course, is long – 12 years in the Senate, 10 in the United States House of Representatives, and eight as Attorney General of New Mexico.

And while a central theme of Udall’s Washington career was the environment, he was also a member of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Udall, who lives in Santa Fe with his wife, Jill, could not be reached for comment. In a statement released by the White House on Friday, he expressed his joy in his new role.

“Having devoted my life to public service and having served as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee focusing on policies that promote democracy, international development and conservation, I am honored to be appointed by President Biden to this next role in the service of our great country. “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 post – working with one of our partners and allies closest – is an integral part of our close collaboration. with New Zealand to address the challenges our nations face – including COVID-19, the climate and China, ”he added.

Away from the dusty trails of New Mexico and the marble pillars of the nation’s capital, Udall now heads to a diverse island nation of around 5 million people, located much closer to Asia than to North America. North. Considered by some to be one of the most beautiful places in the world, New Zealand, like New Mexico, is teeming with great outdoors and concern for its environment.

Its location in the Indo-Pacific may become even more important as the geopolitical map continues to change in the 21st century.

New Zealand has deep ties to the United States, which helped defend the country from the Japanese during World War II. The two countries also enjoy close security ties at a time when US influence in the Western Pacific is colliding with a growing Chinese presence on the economic and military fronts.

When Udall left the Senate, he frankly expressed his frustration with the political climate in Washington. He had been in government long enough to take a step back; her father, Stewart, was once the Home Secretary and her uncle, Mo Udall, was a revered 30-year-old member of Congress from Arizona.

“I have things that I think we should have done that I just couldn’t do because of the way the system works,” Udall said in an interview with The New Mexican at the end of last year. “Are we tackling the things we really need to accomplish right now?” “

In his statement on Friday, Udall seemed delighted with the challenge.

“This is a critical time for our country,” he said, “and my wife Jill and I are honored and honored to have the opportunity to continue serving our country, and if this is confirmed, we look forward to representing the United States in this important diplomatic mission. Post. “


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