Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee,
It is a privilege to appear before you today. I am humbled by the President's and Secretary Clinton's confidence in me. If confirmed, I look forward to working closely with you and other Members of Congress to advance U.S. policy in Singapore.
Before I begin, I hope you will allow me to introduce to the Committee and publicly thank my family. My wife, Caroline, and our three children Oscar, Leah and Avery are here with me today. They have sacrificed and supported me at every stage of my career, and, if confirmed, I am certain they will be excellent representatives of our country and great assets to our mission in Singapore.
My mother and father are also here. I learned the value of hard work and the importance of family from my parents. Thank you for allowing me to publicly thank them for the sacrifices they have made for my brother Mark and me.
I have enjoyed a career in public service and in the private sector. For three years, I served in state government as an Assistant Attorney General in Georgia. I am currently a member of the Georgia State Senate. I have taught courses in political science as an Instructor in the Honors Program at the University of Georgia. I have been in the private practice of law for the better part of 20 years with a large national law firm representing American businesses and individuals in complex matters. In addition to my commercial law practice, for many years I have represented indigent veterans on a pro bono basis before the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, and I have served as a legal adviser to my state’s largest domestic violence organizations. If confirmed, the experience I have gained and the lessons I have learned in my government service and in the private sector will serve me well in Singapore.
The United States is actively working to reinvigorate our relationship with Asia, and our mission in Singapore can help lead the way. I would like to highlight the latest developments in our ongoing partnership with Singapore on some of the most important current international issues.
At the outset, I would like to express my appreciation for Singapore’s contributions to the relief and recovery efforts in Haiti. The Government of Singapore has provided financial support through the UN fund, and a local NGO rapidly organized an eight-member medical team to travel to Haiti within days of the earthquake. This effort is just the latest demonstration of Singapore’s commitment to be a constructive force in the world.
Over the past three years, Singapore has steadily increased its support to the multinational stabilization and reconstruction activities underway in Afghanistan. Singapore’s Armed Forces have contributed medical and engineering teams to Southern and Eastern Afghanistan. In September 2009, Singapore deployed the first of two Weapon Locating Radar teams it will operate out of Oruzgan Province.
Singapore plays an integral role in the global efforts to address the growing threat of piracy in the Gulf of Aden. This year, Singapore sent a ship with two helicopters and approximately fifty personnel to patrol waters off the Coast of Somalia as part of the Combined Task Force 151. And, on January 20 Singapore assumed command from the United States of CTF 151.
Singapore’s commitment to free trade, openness to foreign investment, sound economic management, and maintenance of world-class port facilities has led to the development of extensive economic ties between our two countries. Our Free Trade Agreement with Singapore has been a great success. U.S. companies have invested tens of billions of dollars in Singapore, and more than 20,000 American citizens reside there. Furthermore, Singapore’s leadership in APEC has assured regional progress toward free and open trade and investment, and facilitated growth of small and medium business enterprise activity in the Asia Pacific.
While Singapore has not been immune to the recent financial downturn, U.S.-Singapore economic cooperation has remained vigorous, and we now see strong, positive long-term economic trends developing. After contracting for a year, Singapore’s economy is exhibiting signs of recovery and with it expanding opportunities for mutually beneficial business between the United States and Singapore.
Our friendship with Singapore is strong and enduring. The continued partnership between our two countries serves as a solid anchor for our successful engagement with all of Asia. If confirmed, I look forward to serving and leading our mission in Singapore, as we go from strength to strength building on the many ways in which we work together to promote a more secure and prosperous world.
Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. I welcome your questions.