President Obama is nominating Alan D. Solomont, his fund-raising chief in New England, to be ambassador to Spain, the White House announced this evening.
If confirmed by the Senate, Solomont will step down from his business and philanthropic positions and head to Madrid to represent the interests of United States.
"I am honored to be nominated, and if confirmed, it will be a great privilege to serve," Solomont said in a brief interview.
The nomination continues Obama's pattern of rewarding major players in financing his campaign -- which broke every presidential fund-raising record in the book -- with plum diplomatic posts.
Solomont, a long-time Democratic money man, bundled at least $500,000 in contributions for Obama, and Solomont and his family gave nearly $230,000 themselves to candidates in the 2008 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
He is a Weston investor-philanthropist who runs Solomont Bailis Ventures and serves on several boards, including Boston Medical Center, the Kennedy Library, and the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees AmeriCorps and other national service programs.
Obama pledged during the campaign to reduce the number of political appointees and boost the number of career diplomats serving as American envoys abroad, but his selections so far have been heavy on major fund-raisers for coveted posts, including the ambassadorships in London, Paris, and Tokyo.
Solomont is also the latest Massachusetts supporter to join the administration. Several hold high-level posts, including former Harvard president Lawrence Summers, a key economic adviser, and Howard Kyongju Koh, a former Harvard School of Public Health associate dean, who is now the country's chief public health officer.
Obama also nominated William E. Kennard as ambassador to the European Union. He also tapped Harvard Law dean Martha Minow to serve on the board of the Legal Services Corp. She had replaced Elena Kagan, nominated by Obama to be solicitor general and on short lists for the next Supreme Court opening.
"I am grateful that such distinguished and capable individuals have chosen to serve in my administration at this crucial moment in our nation’s history. As we work to strengthen our nation at home and abroad, I am confident that they will be valuable additions to my administration and I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead,” Obama said in a statement.
The White House-provided biographies of Kennard, Solomont, and Minow are below:
William E. Kennard, Nominee for Representative of the United States of America to the European Union, with the rank of Ambassador, Department of State
William E. Kennard is Managing Director of The Carlyle Group, a global private equity firm. Before joining the firm in 2001, Mr. Kennard was Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission where he advanced policies that brought the Internet to a majority of American households, greatly expanded investment in new wireless and broadband networks, and made digital technologies more available to schools, libraries, low-income communities and people with disabilities. Before becoming FCC Chairman, he served as the FCC’s General Counsel and as a partner and member of the board of directors of the law firm Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand (now DLA Piper). Mr. Kennard has received many honors and awards, including honorary degrees from Howard University, Gallaudet University and Long Island University. Mr. Kennard currently serves on the boards of directors of The New York Times Company, Hawaiian Telcom, Inc., and Insight Communications; in addition, he is a board member of several nonprofit organizations, including the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, One Economy Corporation, Common Sense Media, Year-Up Inc. and the Yale University Council. Mr. Kennard is a graduate of Stanford University and Yale Law School.
Alan D. Solomont, Nominee for Ambassador to Spain and Andorra, Department of State
Alan Solomont is Chairman of the bipartisan Board of Directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service. He was appointed by President Clinton in 2000, re-appointed by President Bush in 2007 and elected chairman in 2009. Solomont has spent his professional career in the health and elder care arenas. He is Chairman of Solomont Bailis Ventures, which invests in early stage health care companies. He was the Co-Founder of HouseWorks, a home care company that helps seniors remain independent and supports families caring for aging relatives. He is also Founder and Managing Director of Angel Healthcare Investors. As a Senior Fellow and Visiting Instructor at Tufts University, Mr. Solomont has taught an undergraduate political science course on the American Presidency. He has served on several nonprofit and for profit boards, including the Boston Medical Center, Boston Private Bank & Trust Company, Angel Healthcare Investors, The New Israel Fund, Israel Policy Forum, the University of Lowell and the University of Massachusetts, Tufts University, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library Foundation, and the WGBH Educational Foundation. He has chaired the Board of Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston and Hebrew Senior life, a large nonprofit elder care provider in Boston. Mr. Solomont holds a B.A. in Political Science and Urban Studies from Tufts University and a B.S. in Nursing from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell.
Martha L. Minow, Nominee for Board Member, Legal Services Corporation
In June 2009, Martha Minow was named Dean of Harvard Law School where she has taught for nearly thirty years. During her tenure, she has also served as the Jeremiah Smith, Jr. Professor of Law, the William Henry Bloomberg Professor of Law, and the Acting Director of the University’s Program on Ethics and the Professions. Minow’s research focuses on equality, human rights, law and social change, and religion and pluralism. Her books address civil procedure, family law, and social services. She began her legal career as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and Judge David Bazelon of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Minow has served on the Board of the American Bar Foundation, the W.T. Grant Foundation, the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, and the International Independent Commission on Kosovo. She currently chairs the board of the Revson Foundation in New York City. She received her B.A. from the University of Michigan, J.D. from Yale University, and Ed.M. from Harvard.
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