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Biden appoints Victoria Kennedy as Austrian ambassador

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden appoints Victoria Kennedy, lawyer and widow of Senator Ted Kennedy, to serve as ambassador to Austria. He is appointing one of the main political fundraisers – Comcast executive David Cohen – to serve as ambassador to Canada, the White House said on Wednesday.

Kennedy, a gun control advocate, knew the president during the years Biden served with her husband in the Senate.

She is chair of the board of trustees and co-founder of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, a non-partisan nonprofit organization that raises public awareness about the United States Senate, and also chairs the committee of education of the Kennedy Center Board of Trustees in Washington.

Kennedy has also served on the boards of gun control groups, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence in Washington, DC, and Stop Handgun Violence in Boston. She founded the Common Sense about Kids and Guns group, aimed at reducing gun deaths and injuries in children.

“My parents and grandparents have taught us through their own life example how important it is to serve and give back,” Kennedy said in a statement. “And my late husband and his extended family embodied the noblest qualities of service in the country. I am touched by the confidence the President has placed in me, and if confirmed, I look forward to serving my country as Ambassador to Austria.

Biden is also seriously considering another member of the Kennedy family.

Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of President John F. Kennedy who served as ambassador to Japan during the Obama administration, is seen as a candidate for a prominent ambassadorial post – possibly in Asia or Australia, according to one person. familiar. to deliberations who was not entitled to comment.

Cohen is a senior executive at cable company Comcast and previously served as chief of staff to another powerful Biden ally, Ed Rendell, when Rendell was mayor of Philadelphia. He was an early supporter of the president’s third presidential campaign in the White House, organizing the first fundraiser of Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign.

Cohen said in a statement that, if confirmed, he would seek to develop “the important relationship” as the two countries seek to bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic. Canada announced this week that it will ease border restrictions next month, allowing U.S. citizens and permanent residents living in the United States who are fully vaccinated to enter without quarantine.

The U.S. government on Wednesday extended the closure of land borders with Canada and Mexico to non-essential travelers until at least August 21.

The White House also announced that Biden is appointing Jamie Harpootlian, a South Carolina lawyer and influential Democrat in the First Primary State, to serve as ambassador to Slovenia. She is married to another powerful South Carolina Democratic agent and ally of Biden, State Senator Dick Harpootlian.

The president’s victory in the South Carolina primary proved to be the turning point in a campaign that struggled from the start.

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