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Trump taps former Georgia congressman for ambassadorship

Republican U.S. Representative John Linder of Georgia, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing front, at a meeting of the House Committee on Rules, Jan. 1995. (Maureen Keating/Library of Congress/Released)

President Donald Trump on Friday tapped former Georgia Congressman John Linder to be ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, an Indonesia-based intergovernmental organization.

The conservative Republican represented much of Gwinnett and surrounding counties for nearly two decades in the U.S. House before announcing he wouldn’t seek re-election in 2010.

The 76-year-old is the second Georgian nominated by Trump to formally represent U.S. interests abroad. Longtime GOP insider Randy Evans has been serving as ambassador to Luxembourg since mid-2018.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, also known as ASEAN, has 10 member nations, including Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines. It was created in 1967 to promote regional stability through political and economic cooperation.

A dentist by training, Linder served seven terms in Georgia’s General Assembly before entering Congress in 1993 as a top lieutenant to soon-to-be Speaker Newt Gingrich. He became known for his work on water supply issues and the “Fair Tax,” a proposal he developed with radio talk show host Neal Boortz.

Linder would need to be confirmed by the Senate before being able to assume the post.

Georgia U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson said he planned to support his former colleague’s nomination.

“In addition to his military service in the U.S. Air Force, John’s 18 years in the U.S. House of Representatives will benefit him greatly if confirmed for this new role,” the three-term Republican said. “As an early member of the House Homeland Security Committee, John has experience working on challenging security issues including prevention of nuclear and biological weapons proliferation. He was also a key advocate of expanding our trade relationships with allies in the Asia-Pacific region, supporting Vietnam’s accession to the World Trade Organization as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.”


© 2019 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.)

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