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TRANSCRIPT: Majority Leader Schumer Remarks At Foreign Relations Committee Introducing Nick Perry As Nominee For Ambassador To Jamaica And Randi Levine As Nominee For Ambassador To Portugal

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today delivered remarks at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee introducing Nick Perry as nominee for Ambassador to Jamaica and Randi Levine as nominee for Ambassador to Portugal. Senator Schumer also recognized the nominations of Professor Deborah Lipstadt to serve as the State Department’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism and Laura Dogu as nominee for Ambassador to Honduras. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Thank you very much to Chairman Menendez to Ranking Member Risch and all the members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, this great committee, for the opportunity to introduce two really outstanding nominees this morning.

It is my honor to introduce a proud New Yorker, a dear and longtime friend, we’ve known each other for 30 years, and fellow Brooklynite, Nick Perry to serve as the next U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica. I worked hard to make sure President Biden named Nick for this post, and I am glad to finally be here introducing him to the committee.

He’s here with his wife Joyce, his son Nicholas, and he has one granddaughter, Justine Skye, who is a famous recording artist, so she couldn’t be here today; local girl made good.  

Now, whenever I’m back home in Brooklyn, particularly at the West Indian Day parade, I ask folks “what’s the biggest island in the Caribbean?”

I tell them it's a trick question. You know, some people say Haiti, some people say Cuba, some people say Barbados.

I say no. It’s Brooklyn. We have more Caribbean immigrants than anywhere else. And it’s a great and wonderful hardworking community climbing up that ladder and being part of the American dream.

And this makes Nick Perry not only an outstanding nominee because of his qualifications and who he is, but an exceedingly fitting nominee to serve as our next Ambassador to Jamaica.

He is a native of the island and Nick Perry would be the first ever — the first ever — Jamaican-born person to serve as its American Ambassador. It is truly an important milestone, one that I would add is long, long overdue.

Back home, Assemblyman Perry is a well-known face in the community. He has a knack for doing politics the old-fashioned way: shaking hands, showing up at every event, and just listening to people from everyday life.

Nick is an immigrant, he is a veteran, and a lifelong public servant, and he represents the best of what America is all about. I am certain that Nick will be a wonderful Ambassador to Jamaica.

And one other thing I note, he has a beautiful tenor voice, sort of like you Mr. Chairman, and he is often asked to sing the Star Spangled Banner at a multitude of events throughout Brooklyn and throughout New York.

It is also my great honor to introduce another great New Yorker, Randi Charno Levine, nominated by President Biden to serve as the next U.S. Ambassador to Portugal.

I was proud to urge the Biden Administration to name Randi for this important post, and when confirmed she will become only the second woman to head our diplomatic mission in Portugal.

I have known Randi and her husband Jeff, who’s right there, for over 30 years, and Randi in particular has been one of our city’s top philanthropic forces for decades.

Few have advocated as passionately and tirelessly for New Yorkers as Randi and Jeff have, and I’m particularly grateful for the work they’ve done in support of New York’s Jewish communities. It’s been a blessing to see firsthand their leadership, their generosity, and most of all, their desire to bringing people together.

As chair of the Meridian Center for Cultural Diplomacy here in Washington, Randi has been one of our country’s best leaders promoting cultural exchanges between students, diplomats, and businesses.

In other words, she has already advanced—in a different context—the work any good Ambassador must accomplish: encouraging understanding between our country and those across the world.

And as a trustee for the New Museum in New York, Randi has also worked with established and emerging artists from Peru to Italy to Portugal and more, lifting up the voices of women artists and bringing their work to American audiences. 

I have every bit of confidence that Randi will represent the US with distinction as an ambassador to Portugal and I thank the President for acting on my recommendation.

And one more point Mr. Chairman — and thank you for your indulgence — though I am not introducing her this morning – I know that Senator Rosen has – I want to recognize the nomination of Professor Deborah Lipstadt to serve as the State Department’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. I’m glad she is getting her confirmation hearing today.

The malicious poison of antisemitism must be confronted whenever it rears its ugly head. Sadly, we’ve seen a spike of antisemitism here at home and around the world, making this post at the State Department all the more urgent.  

As one of the nation’s top scholars on the Holocaust and on modern day antisemitism, Dr. Lipstadt ought to be confirmed as soon as possible. We just saw a few more antisemitic incidents in Williamsburg yesterday in New York. I want to thank the committee for holding this hearing and I want to congratulate her on her nomination.

Finally, I don’t want to leave her out since I’ve spoken on three of the nominees, I’d like to welcome the fourth: Laura Dogu, the Ambassador to Honduras. She is a distinguished member of our foreign service and I thank her as well for her service.

I thank you Mr. Chairman and Mr. Ranking Member for allowing me to welcome these guests.