the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts, 11/30/09

WASHINGTON – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key administration posts:

  • Ian C. Kelly, U.S. Representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, with the rank of Ambassador, Department of State
  • Allan J. Katz, Ambassador to the Portuguese Republic, Department of State
  • Bisa Williams, Ambassador to the Republic of Niger, Department of State
  • Raul H. Yzaguirre, Sr., Ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Department of State
  • Patrick K. Nakamura, Member, Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission

President Obama said, “As we work to strengthen our relationships in the global community and put our nation back on a path to prosperity, I am confident that these individuals will serve our nation well. I look forward to working with them in the coming months and years.”

President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals today:

Ian C. Kelly, Nominee for U.S. Representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, with the rank of Ambassador, Department of State
Ian Kelly has served as the Spokesman for the State Department since May 2009.  He is a Senior Foreign Service Officer, with the rank of Minister Counselor.  Prior to that, Mr. Kelly was acting Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau for European and Eurasian Affairs from January to May 2009, with responsibility for Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, and Belarus, and the Director of the Office of Russian Affairs from 2007-2009.  From 2004-2007, he was Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Mission to NATO.   From 1994-1996, Mr. Kelly was Director of Democratic Initiatives to the Newly Independent States at the State Department, coordinating the activities of nearly a dozen federal agencies involved in democracy building in the former Soviet Union.  In addition to NATO, he has been posted overseas in Rome, Ankara, Vienna, Belgrade, Moscow, Leningrad, and Milan.    Mr. Kelly holds a Bachelor’s degree from St. Olaf College, a Masters degree from Northwestern University, and a Doctorate from Columbia University.

Allan J. Katz, Nominee for Ambassador to the Portuguese Republic, Department of State
Allan J. Katz is currently of counsel to Akerman Senterfitt and the Chair of the firm-wide Policy practice group. Katz was previously City Commissioner for the City of Tallahassee. In 2007, he organized and created the Village Square, a bi-partisan community based organization. Prior to that, he was the managing partner of Katz, Kutter, Alderman & Bryant, P.A.  Mr. Katz was also appointed by Florida's CFO to serve on the board of the Citizens Property Insurance Corporation. He also served as the head of the Joint Planning Board which coordinates the distribution of funds to social service agencies on behalf of the City, the County and the United Way. Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Katz was Assistant Insurance Commissioner and General Counsel for the State of Florida Insurance Department. He also held positions as General Counsel, U.S. House of Representatives Commission on Administrative Review; Legislative Director for Congressman David Obey, and Legislative Assistant to Congressman Bill Gunter. Katz has a B.A. from the University of Missouri at Kansas City and holds a J.D. from the American University, Washington College of Law.

Bisa Williams, Nominee for Ambassador to the Republic of Niger, Department of State
Bisa Williams, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, was most currently acting Deputy Assistant Secretary with responsibility for Central America, the Caribbean, and Cuba in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. She has also served as Coordinator for Cuban Affairs in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the State Department and as Director for International Organizations at the National Security Council.  As Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Port Louis, Mauritius, Ms. Williams oversaw the organization and production of the U.S.-Africa, trade-related conference, the “AGOA (Africa Growth Opportunity Act) Forum.”  Her other overseas assignments include France, the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, and Panama. Ms. Williams has also served as Special Assistant to Secretary of State; Special Assistant to the Coordinator of Assistance to the Newly Independent States of the former Soviet Union;  and country officer for Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Cape Verde.  She received a Bachelor of Arts from Yale University; a Masters Degree from the University of California, Los Angeles; and a Masters Degree from the National War College of the National Defense University.  

Raul H. Yzaguirre, Sr., Nominee for Ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Department of State
Raul H. Yzaguirre, Sr. is currently  a Presidential Professor  of Practice and Executive Director of the Center for Community Development and Civil  Rights at Arizona State University in Phoenix, Arizona. From 1974 to 2005, Mr. Yzaguirre served as President and CEO of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR). Prior to that, he served as Vice President at the Center for Community Change in Washington D.C.  From 1969 to 1973, he founded  two sister management consulting  organizations: Interstate Research Associates and InterAmerica Research Associates.  Mr. Yzaguirre served as a Senior Program Analyst in the U.S. Office for Economic Opportunity (OEO) and as a special advisor to the Director of OEO, Sargent Shriver, from 1966 to 1969. He has also been appointed to the  President’s Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. Mr. Yzaguirre monitored several presidential elections in Latin America as a board member of the National Democratic Institute (NDI). Mr. Yzaguirre also served in the U.S. Air Force Medical Corps for four years.  He has a B.S. from George Washington University, was an Institute of Politics Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and studied at La Universidad de Las Americas in Puebla, Mexico.

Patrick K. Nakamura, Nominee for Member, Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission
Patrick K. Nakamura has practiced law in Birmingham, Alabama for over 30 years.  As senior partner in the firm of Nakamura, Quinn, Walls, Weaver & Davies, he has represented clients in both civil and administrative labor, employment and health and safety litigation in federal and state courts and agencies including the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission, National Labor Relations Board and the U.S. Department of Labor. His work in the area of mine health and safety began over 20 years ago. In the intervening years he has also represented Taft-Hartley benefit trusts and individuals in black lung and workers’ compensation litigation. Prior to entering private practice in 1983, Mr. Nakamura spent four years providing legal services to indigent clients in south Alabama. Mr. Nakamura holds a B.A. degree from the University of California at Berkeley and a J.D. degree from the Georgetown University Law Center.