SHAHEEN EXPRESSES SUPPORT FOR NEW HAMPSHIRE’S JAMES SMITH AS AMBASSADOR TO SAUDI ARABIAJuly 22, 2009
(Washington, DC)-U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen today expressed her support for General James Smith of Salem, New Hampshire to become the next ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Shaheen introduced Smith at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which will confirm his nomination to the diplomatic post. Smith, a retired Air Force Brigadier General, has extensive experience in the region having served in Operation Desert Storm.
"Jim is a good friend and an adopted son of New Hampshire, and I believe that the President has made an excellent choice in nominating him to fill this important diplomatic role," said Shaheen. "I am proud to fully support his nomination, and as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I hope we will quickly and positively consider his nomination."
The full text of Shaheen's prepared remarks are as follows:
"Chairman Casey, thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak. I am pleased today to introduce General James Smith as the Senate Foreign Relations Committee considers his nomination to be the U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
"Jim is a good friend and an adopted son of New Hampshire (Salem, NH), and I believe that the President has made an excellent choice in nominating him to fill this important diplomatic role. I am proud to fully support his nomination, and as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I hope we will quickly and positively consider his nomination.
"I would also like to take a second and recognize Jim's family who is here today. Jim's wife, Janet, and his four children, Jack, Robin, Glenna and Cathleen, are all here today to support him. Thank you all for your continued service on behalf of our country. Diplomatic service - not unlike military service - is especially challenging for families who also make great sacrifices on behalf of our country. We all appreciate your commitment to our nation.
"General James B. Smith has committed a lifetime of service to his country, serving in the U.S. Air Force for nearly three decades, retiring in 2002 as a Brigadier General and as the Deputy Commander of the Joint Warfighting Center in Virginia. He has served admirably and commanded airmen and women all over the world.
"A former F-15 pilot with over 4,000 hours of flight time, General Smith's distinguished career includes combat sorties during Desert Storm, where he became intimately familiar with the dangers, complexities, and difficulties of the security situation in Saudi Arabia and in the greater Middle East.
"General Smith holds advanced degrees from the U.S. Air Force Academy, Indiana University, the Naval War College, the Air Command and Staff College, and the National War College. As a professor at the National War College, General Smith had the opportunity to work with and teach Saudi military officers, an experience which will serve him well should he be confirmed.
"After retiring from the military, Jim has gone on to a successful business career in the defense sector at Lockheed Martin and most recently, at Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems, where he often worked with foreign military establishments, including Saudi military officials.
‘General Smith will face daunting challenges and enormous opportunities, should he be confirmed. I am confident that his distinguished military background and impressive accomplishments in the business world have prepared him to succeed in this new endeavor.
"Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for allowing me to speak today. And, thank you, General Smith for again heeding the call of service and taking on these new responsibilities. I look forward to hearing from you and from all of our nominees today."
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