Schatz Chairs Foreign Relations Committee Nominations Hearing, Urges Swift Confirmation Of American Diplomats
More Than 50 State Department Nominees Awaiting Confirmation
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Brian Schatz today chaired a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing to consider six nominees to the U.S. Department of State. The nominees include Jeffrey Prescott to be U.S. Representative to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture, Charlie Crist to be U.S. Representative on the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization, Sean Patrick Maloney to be U.S. Representative to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Cardell Kenneth Richardson, Sr., to be Inspector General for the Department of State, Nicole Shampaine to be Ambassador to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and Joann Lockard to be Ambassador to Burkina Faso.
“There are few responsibilities as important as confirming nominees to represent the United States on matters of foreign policy and national security,” said Senator Schatz. “That is especially true given the backlog of nominees that must be confirmed for our government to work at full strength, and to pursue our interests and values around the world.”
The full text of Senator Schatz’s opening remarks, as prepared for delivery, follows.
We’re here today to consider six key nominations on two separate panels. I’m honored to serve as chair for this hearing. And I am pleased to be joined by my friend from Tennessee, Senator Hagerty.
There are few responsibilities as important as confirming nominees to represent the United States on matters of foreign policy and national security.
That is especially true given the backlog of nominees that must be confirmed for our government to work at full strength, and to pursue our interests and values around the world. Currently, there are 36 nominees on the floor who are awaiting confirmation, and another 20 pending in committee. I cannot overstate how important it is to get these vacancies filled as soon as possible.
Our first panel will consider the nominations of:
- Mr. Jeffrey Prescott to be the U.S. Representative to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture;
- The Honorable Charlie Crist to be the U.S. Representative on the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization; and
- The Honorable Sean Patrick Maloney, to be the U.S. Representative to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Congratulations to all of you…you are all eminently qualified for the positions for which you have been nominated. And we thank you for your service and your willingness to continue to serve at this challenging time.
We also thank your families, who in many ways, serve as well. When you have an opportunity to address the committee momentarily for your opening statements, we’d welcome you to introduce them.
First on the panel is Mr. Jeffrey Prescott, who, if confirmed, will serve as the U.S. Representative to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture, with the rank of Ambassador. Mr. Prescott currently serves as deputy to the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. He previously served as a Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Iran, Iraq, Syria, and the Gulf States on the National Security Council during the Obama Administration. He also served as then-Vice President Biden’s deputy national security advisor and his senior advisor for China and Asia.
The U.S. Representative to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture is a critical position. The global hunger crisis is getting worse, particularly in the aftermath of the pandemic. With over 700 million people around the world facing chronic hunger, it’s clear we have a lot of work to do to reach the Second UN Sustainable Development Goal of ending global hunger by 2030. And we need this vacancy to be filled for the United States to remain a leader in the global fight to end hunger.
Mr. Prescott is well qualified for this position, and I have here, a letter from members of his White House fellows’ class, supporting his nomination. Without objection, I’d like to enter this letter into the record.
Next, we have the Honorable Charlie Crist, who has a wealth of public service experience, including serving as Florida’s 44th Governor, and as the state’s Attorney General and Education Commissioner. He most recently served in the U.S. House of Representatives for Florida’s 13th district from 2016-2022. If confirmed, Mr. Crist will serve as the U.S. Representative on the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization, or ICAO, with the rank of Ambassador.
ICAO covers a wide range of issues necessary to facilitating safe air travel around the world, including setting global standards for navigation, communication, and airline safety, mapping out airspace jurisdiction, and establishing “free range” airspace over oceans and seas.
We also have Mr. Sean Patrick Maloney, who has spent much of his life devoted to public service, most recently representing the 18th district of New York. If confirmed, he will serve as the U.S. Representative to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD, with rank of Ambassador.
The OECD is a unique forum where the governments of 37 democracies with market-based economies collaborate to develop policy standards to promote sustainable economic growth. OECD member countries account for three-fifths of world GDP, three-quarters of world trade, over 90 percent of global official development assistance, and half of the world’s energy consumption. We must fill this vacancy so we can more effectively advance shared values and interests with OECD allies and partners.
The positions for which you all have been nominated are highly important, each requiring extensive skills and experience. Once again, I thank you for your willingness to serve, and now yield to my colleague, Senator Hagerty.
We now will consider another set of important nominations:
- Mr. Cardell Kenneth Richardson, Sr. to be the inspector general for the Department of State;
- Ms. Nicole Shampaine to be Ambassador to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons; and
- Ms. Joann Lockard to be Ambassador to Burkina Faso.
Congratulations to each one of you. You are all extremely qualified for the positions for which you have been nominated and will meaningfully promote U.S. foreign policy and national security interests in your respective roles, if confirmed. We thank you for your service and your continued willingness to serve. Public service asks a lot of family members too, and so I’d welcome you to introduce your family members when you have an opportunity to address the committee.
First on the panel is Mr. Richardson, who currently serves as the Inspector General of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, where he provides independent oversight and objective assessments of agency programs and operations. He is a retired U.S. Air Force Colonel, having served 26 years on active duty. Mr. Richardson has been honored twice with the Presidential Rank Award for his service.
Next, we have Ms. Nicole Shampaine – a career member of the Senior Foreign Service who currently serves as the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt. She previously served as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim to the U.S. Mission in the Vienna Office of the United Nations and at the International Atomic Energy Agency, among other postings.
Ms. Shampaine is nominated to represent our nation at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, where she would support global efforts to permanently eliminate chemical weapons under the Chemical Weapons Convention.
We also have Ms. Joann Lockard, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, most recently serving as the Deputy Chief of Mission to the U.S. Embassy in Côte d’Ivoire. Ms. Lockard’s assignments also have included serving as the Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassies in Uganda and Burkina Faso. If confirmed, Ms. Lockard will return to Burkina Faso as ambassador.
Burkina Faso has experienced a coup and a military takeover in just the last year. Over 2 million people were internally displaced as of this past July and an estimated 4.7 million needed humanitarian assistance. It’s a volatile situation to put it mildly…and that makes this role especially challenging. But Ms. Lockard’s deep knowledge of and experience in the region will be vital for U.S. efforts to support regional stability through the promotion of democratic values, respect for human rights, and sustainable economic development.
The positions that each of you have been nominated for are essential to promoting American values of democracy and equality around the world. Each role requires specific skills and experience that you all bring.
Once again, I thank you for your continued willingness to serve, and now yield to my colleague, Senator Hagerty.