Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Sarbanes, Members of this Committee, it is an honor and a privilege to come before you as President Bush’s nominee for the position of Assistant Secretary and Director General of the U.S. Foreign and Commercial Service. Thank you for granting me this hearing today. I know how busy you are and I really appreciate your attention to this nomination. I look forward, if confirmed, to working with the Members and staff of this Committee on matters related to export promotion.
I would like to thank Senator Santorum for that kind introduction. Ten years ago when Senator Santorum was first elected to Congress I was Chief of Staff to Congressman Bill Paxon. Our office acted as "big brother" to his office and we introduced him to the culture on Capitol Hill. We must have been good teachers. After only one term in the U.S. House of Representatives he came back as a U.S. Senator.
I also want to thank President George W. Bush and Secretary of Commerce Don Evans for their support of my nomination.
Mr. Chairman, Congress created the U.S. Foreign and Commercial Service to provide export assistance at a reasonable cost to American companies. From the beginning, our mission has been to help small and medium-sized American business export their U.S. made products and services and protect the interests of U.S. businesses abroad. The Commercial Service has grown into a worldwide organization that facilities export transactions by linking U.S. suppliers with international buyers through our network of 105 domestic and 159 international field offices.
Small and medium-sized American business understand and appreciate the unique and valuable role played by the Commercial Service in trade promotion and trade compliance. Federal, state and local international trade agencies also value the Commercial Service. Over the years we have forged a strong partnership with the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee to leverage scare resources and provide seamless export assistance to clients.
If confirmed, I will work to further strengthen the partnerships created through the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee to better leverage federal resources. The Commercial Service actively pursues partnerships with government agencies and the private sector. I believe that working together through partnerships at the point of service delivery is the most effective way to help American exporters in today’s climate of increased global competition.
We live in a rapidly changing society. Our nation continues to evolve into a service orientated, high-tech based economy where an increased number of exporters are from non-traditional backgrounds. The Commercial Service must continue to respond to these changes.
If confirmed, I have set three goals for the Agency:
This is truly an exciting time and one of tremendous opportunity for U.S. exporters. Commercial Service employees are dedicated, hardworking and committed to providing export assistance services that are second to none. Their enthusiasm is contagious. I invite each of you to visit your local U.S. Export Assistance Center to observe firsthand the tremendous service that these men and women provide to your constituent businesses seeking to export.
I welcome the challenge of leading a worldwide field-based organization of 1700 dynamic individuals. My 20-plus years of leading field-based organizations, developing and adhering to complex budgets, setting short and long term strategic goals, building coalitions, and developing, motivating and mentoring staff have prepared me for this position. In addition, the contacts I have made in federal, state and local agencies will enable me to further the goals of the U.S. Commercial Service. It is my hope that my skills in developing successful, strategic marketing and outreach programs will heighten the awareness and value of the Commercial Service’s programs to American companies.
Finally, let me say that I am humbled. I could never have imagined that while growing up in a blue-collar, ethnic and conservative household that I would be sitting here today before the United State Senate at a confirmation hearing to be the Assistant Secretary and Director General for the U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service.
I want to thank my loving parents for teaching me that if I worked hard, anything was possible. I especially want to thank my late father for not heeding the advice of my grandfather who insisted that it would be a waste of money to send a girl to college. I also want to thank my colleagues and friends who challenged me and gave me the opportunity to grow.
I deeply appreciate the honor of being here today. If confirmed I look forward to working with Grant Aldonas and my sister International Trade Administration bureaus to promote U.S. exports, support U.S. trade policies and enforce trade agreements.
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