White House nominates next ambassador to Latvia

A resident of Virginia who is a career diplomat has been nominated by President Barack Obama to be the next U.S. ambassador to Latvia.

Judith Gail Garber, a deputy assistant secretary in the State Department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, was nominated June 25, a White House spokesperson announced. She has been in her current post since October 2007, overseeing bilateral relations with Baltic, Nordic and Central European countries, according to her State Department biography.

Garber’s nomination must still be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Before becoming a deputy assistant secretary, Garber was director of the Office of North Central Europe. As director, Garber visited Rīga in November 2007 to meet with government officials, according to the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Prior to joining the bureau, according to the State Department, Garber was director for development finance in the Economic Bureau, where she worked on development policy and donor coordination issues.

Garber’s overseas postings have included Spain, the Czech Republic, Mexico and Israel.

Before joining the State Department, Garber worked at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve and at the Treasury Department. She has a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Garber is married and has two children.

Garber would become the seventh ambassador to Latvia since the country regained independence in 1991. Garber would replace Charles W. Larson Jr., whose short tenure ended Jan. 20 when Obama took office. Since Larson’s departure, Deputy Chief of Mission Bruce Rogers has served as chargé d’affaires in the U.S. Embassy in Rīga.

Previous ambassadors have included Ints Siliņš (1992-1995), Larry Napper (1995-1998), James Holmes (1998-2001), Brian E. Carlson (2001-2004) and Catherine Todd Bailey (2005-2008).

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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