Two Minnesotans among ambassador nomineesby Elizabeth Baier, Minnesota Public Radio
A U.S. Senate committee hearing is taking place Wednesday in Washington D.C. to confirm the foreign posts of two Minnesotans.
Earlier this year, President Barack Obama nominated Miguel Diaz to be the U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, and Samuel Kaplan to be ambassador to Morocco.
Diaz is a professor at the College of St. Benedict and St. John's University in central Minnesota. If confirmed, he would be the first Latino to serve as ambassador to the Vatican.
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., introduced Diaz at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Klobuchar praised Diaz for his work building bridges between different communities to find common ground within the Catholic Church, both in America and at the international level.
"Professor Diaz is a faithful Catholic, a gifted theologian, a respected scholar, a natural teacher and a dedicated bridge-builder," said Klobuchar. "He knows and loves America, and he knows and loves the Catholic Church. I am honored to recommend Professor Miguel Diaz as America"s next diplomatic representative to the Vatican."
Diaz also was an adviser to Obama's presidential campaign. In a statement earlier this year, Diaz said if confirmed by the Senate, he wants to be a bridge between the U.S. and the Holy See.
Kaplan, 72, is a prominent Minneapolis lawyer and DFL fundraiser. He headed up Paul Wellstone's judicial selection committee and was a close friend of the late senator.
Kaplan is a founding member of Kaplan, Strangis and Kaplan, P.A., which was established in 1978. Some of the firm's clients include TCF Bank Savings, The Minnesota Twins, Adams Affinity Group and Liberty Diversified Industries.
Kaplan also has served for more than 25 years as General Counsel for the Minnesota Wine and Spirits Association.
Klobuchar also praised Kaplan for his calm manner and superb judgment.
"I look forward to Miguel and Sam being confirmed and joining our state's proud tradition of Minnesotans, from all backgrounds and political beliefs, serving as ambassadors," said Klobuchar.