By Arun Kumar
Washington, Feb 12 (IANS) A former Doordarshan sports and news anchor, Secunderabad-born Suresh Kumar, has become the senior-most Indian American in the US commerce department.
Kumar, named to be assistant secretary of commerce and director general of the United States and Foreign Commerce Service, was among 27 nominees of President Barack Obama to be confirmed Friday before the Senate went into Presidential Day recess.
"While this is a good first step, there are still dozens of nominees on hold who deserve a similar vote, and I will be looking for action from the Senate when it returns from recess," President Barack Obama said after the fresh round of confirmations.
Obama warned that if the Senate does not confirm his nominees, who are critical to run his administration, he reserves the right to use his recess appointment authority in the future.
President and managing partner of KaiZen Innovation, Kumar served as a special adviser to the Clinton Foundation and was a news anchor with Doordarshan from 1970 to 1985.
Kumar's confirmation makes him the second senior-most Indian American in the Obama administration after Rajiv Shah, administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), who is also in-charge of US relief efforts in Haiti.
During his confirmation hearings, Kumar told the lawmakers, "I could not help but reflect on the incredible journey from Mumbai via Indonesia, Singapore and Canada that brought me to the USA 16 years ago."
"I stand before you as a first generation immigrant and a testimony to our great country," he said. "It has provided my family and me the opportunities most could have only dreamed about."
"If I am confirmed for this position, you will have given me the opportunity to repay a small measure of the debt to a country that has already given me and my family so much."
"The value and values of free and fair trade are embedded in my DNA," he said, pledging to "leverage my experience and passion in international business to maximize the efforts of the US Commerce Service in increasing the global competitiveness of the American business community, with a particular focus on small and medium enterprises."