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President's Nominee to be the Under Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs

Reuben Jeffery III, Under Secretary for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs
Statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Washington, DC
June 12, 2007

Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, thank you for holding this hearing and inviting me to appear before you today. It is an honor to be here as the President’s nominee to be the Under Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs.

I would like to begin by thanking President Bush and Secretary Rice for the honor and privilege of being nominated and for the opportunity to serve the American people in this important position.

Thank you also to Senator Chambliss for that very kind introduction.

I would like to introduce my wife, Robin and our son, Ben. Our daughter Jocelyn just started a new job in New York and could not be here today. Similarly, our son Bob is away on a long anticipated post high school graduation outing. I would be remiss in not thanking them all, and Robin in particular, for their inspiration, love, and support over these many years.

As the Committee is well aware, national security and economic well-being are inextricably linked. Our children’s future depends both on ensuring prosperity at home and encouraging prosperous and growing societies overseas.

Helping to develop and promote the conditions for economic opportunity internationally is critical to the creation of stable, peaceful and prosperous communities around the world. Programs that help the world’s most vulnerable and encourage economic self reliance must be a core component of U.S. foreign policy. This is especially crucial in Africa and Latin America where our strong engagement and support can help break the cycle of poverty and despair.

Prior to 9/11, I spent my career in the private sector, including a decade living and working outside of the U.S. Through that experience, I came to appreciate the transformative power of open and competitive markets and the relationship between good government and economic opportunity.

I also learned how to see our country through the eyes of others. Whether resented or respected, admired or envied, the economic well being of the U.S. is the standard to which others aspire. We are a great country to which much has been given but from which much is expected. As such, we have an obligation not only to advance our own economic interests overseas, but also to support the growth and development of others. Pursued strategically, these two objectives are mutually reinforcing.

For the past five years, I have had the privilege of working for the U.S. government in a variety of capacities. This included helping with the economic recovery of lower Manhattan post-9/11 as a special advisor to the President, working in Iraq and at the Pentagon in support of the Coalition Provisional Authority, providing leadership at the NSC on trade and development issues, and heading the Commodity Futures Trading Commission as it deals with financial market regulatory matters.

In so doing, I have had the opportunity to work alongside an exceptional group of dedicated public servants, both civilian and military. These years have been the most personally and professionally rewarding of my career.

If confirmed as Under Secretary for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs, I would draw upon these varied experiences and perspectives to energize and lead the State Department’s team of Foreign Service and Civil Service Officers who are all committed to the core mission of building prosperity and economic security at home and overseas.

If confirmed, I will work with my colleagues to focus on four main objectives.

  • First - Leverage the resources of the U.S. and international business communities to encourage pro-growth economic policies and create the conditions for economic opportunity and poverty reduction in support of U.S. and international assistance programs.
  • Second - Promote prosperity and competitiveness through market-expanding trade, aviation, telecommunications and investment agreements that seek to level the playing field for American workers, businesses, farmers and consumers while enhancing conditions for economic development at home and in the economies of our trading partners.
  • Third – Advance U.S. and global energy security by working with partner countries and the private sector to diversify energy sources, manage energy demand and promote the development and use of innovative, energy efficient and environmentally respectful technologies.
  • and Finally - Maintain and enhance a stable financial system by working with other major economies and international financial institutions to implement responsible growth-oriented economic policies.

While much progress has been made in these areas under the excellent leadership of Secretary Rice, former Under Secretary Josette Sheeran and Assistant Secretary for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs Dan Sullivan, we have the opportunity to build on those successes in the coming months and years.

I am acutely aware that time is running short and my job tenure, if confirmed, will be commensurately brief. But these broad policy objectives – to improve the quality of life and economic standing for Americans and people around the world – transcend party lines and administrations.

While I look at the next nineteen months as a sprint, I would hope to pass the baton to the next runner having covered some significant ground.

I appreciate too that this is a team effort, requiring not just the Department to work as one, but also necessitating constructive collaboration among many agencies and branches of government. No one individual, department, or branch has a monopoly on good ideas, nor the resources to take them from conception to successful implementation.

Mr. Chairman, the job of Under Secretary for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs carries important and exciting responsibilities. If confirmed, I look forward to working with Secretary Rice, my State Department and other U.S. government colleagues, and with the members of this Committee. I can assure you that I will need and welcome this Committee’s ongoing support and counsel.

I am honored to be here before you today. Thank you again Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee for giving me this opportunity to be here this afternoon.

Released on June 28, 2007

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