US president Joe Biden on Friday nominated Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to serve as the country's ambassador to India, according to the White House.
If confirmed by the Senate, the 50-year-old Garcetti would replace Kenneth Juster, who served as the US Ambassador to India during the Trump administration. Earlier this week, Juster was appointed as a distinguished fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Who is Eric Garcetti?
- According to a White House press release, Garcetti has been the Mayor of Los Angeles since 2013, following 12 years as a member of the City Council, including six as Council President.
- Vast administrative experience: As Mayor, Garcetti oversees the busiest container port in the Western Hemisphere, the largest municipal utility in the country, and one of the busiest airports in the world. He led the city's successful bid to return the summer Olympic Games to American soil for the first time in three decades. He also chairs LA Metro, the US's second-busiest transit agency, which is building or extending 15 new transit lines, and shifting to an all-electric fleet.
- Climate Change advocacy: Garcetti co-founded Climate Mayors and led more than 400 US mayors to adopt the Paris Climate agreement. He is the current Chair of C40 Cities a network of 97 of the world's biggest cities taking bold climate action and has led the organisation's engagement and expansion in India. He also led the C40's global response to the COVID-19 pandemic through the sharing of best practices and resources.
- US Navy background: Garcetti served for 12 years as an Intelligence Officer in the US Navy Reserve Component. During his tenure, Garcetti served under the Commander, US Pacific Fleet and the Defence Intelligence Agency, retiring in 2017 as a Lieutenant.
- Academic background: A Rhodes Scholar, he studied at Queen's College, Oxford and the London School of Economics and Political Science. Garcetti was selected as an inaugural Asia 21 Fellow of the Asia Society, and taught at Occidental College's Department of Diplomacy and World Affairs, as well as at the University of Southern California's School of International Relations.
- He has conducted fieldwork on nationalism, ethnicity, and human rights in Southeast Asia and Northeast Africa. He is the founding Chair of the Latino Alliance of Mayors at the US Conference of Mayors, serves on the Board of National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, and speaks fluent Spanish, the White House said.
Part of Joe Biden's inner circle
- According to news agency The Associated Press, Garcetti considered a 2020 White House bid and later became part of Biden’s inner circle. The possibility of the Los Angeles mayor joining Biden’s Cabinet last year was widely discussed, but he took himself out of the running, saying the raging coronavirus crisis made it impossible for him to step away.
- Garcetti was one of the co-chairs of Biden's national campaign. He served on the committee that vetted his pool of vice presidential contenders and served as one of several co-chairs for Biden’s inaugural committee. According to the AP report, Biden is rewarding his loyalist by nominating him as the ambassador.
'Honoured to accept nomination'
In a statement on Friday, Garcetti said he is honoured to accept the nomination and will bring the same energy, commitment and love with which he served the city to his new role.
I love Los Angeles and will always be an Angeleno. I want you to know that every day I am your Mayor, I will continue to lead this city like it is my first day on the job, with passion, focus, and determination.
— MayorOfLA (@MayorOfLA) July 9, 2021
"I love Los Angeles and will always be an Angeleno. I want you to know that every day I am your Mayor, I will continue to lead this city like it is my first day on the job, with passion, focus, and determination", Garcetti said in the statement. "I have committed my life to service as an activist, as a teacher, as a naval officer, as a public servant, and if confirmed, next as an ambassador. Part of that commitment means that when your nation calls, you answer that call," he said.
"And should I be confirmed, I'll bring this same energy, commitment, and love for this city to my new role and will forge partnerships and connections that will help Los Angeles," Garcetti said.
Biden also nominated Denise Campbell Bauer as his envoy to Monaco, Peter D Haas to Bangladesh, and Bernadette M Meehan as his top diplomat to Chile.
With inputs from agencies