President Donald Trump on Wednesday nominated state Sen. Kyle McCarter of downstate Lebanon to be an ambassador to Kenya, citing the southern Illinois legislator’s long history with a charity with ties to the African nation.
“It is an honor to be asked to represent President Trump and our great nation in a country where I have lived and served for many years,” McCarter said in a statement. “I look forward to bringing about a closer relationship that will benefit both our nations.”
McCarter was first nominated last year by Illinois’ Republican congressional delegation. McCarter, along with his parents, founded Each One Feed One International, which helps orphaned and abandoned children, and also provides medical treatment for those with HIV and malaria.
McCarter began working with the charity in 1984. He and his wife Victoria lived and worked in Kenya for a year beginning in 1987 to help build a medical clinic. They resumed their work with the charity in 2011 and continue to do so.
In the congressional nomination letter, congressmen wrote of McCarter’s “extensive history in Kenya,” with experience negotiating with tribal chiefs and other dignitaries; experience working with USAID and other organizations and “heightened insight into the governmental operations and other political, economic and social realities of both Kenya and the larger region of East Africa.”
The congressmen also noted McCarter had identified ways to support Trump’s “Buy American” strategy in Kenya to help boost the American economy through Kenyan investment.
McCarter and his wife both are conversational in Swahili, the official language of Kenya.
The White House announced the nomination in a news release on Wednesday afternoon, noting McCarter “served as a field auditor, Missionary and International Director of Each One Feed One International, based in Lebanon, Illinois with an office in Mukothima, Kenya.”
According to the release, McCarter would be “Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of American to the Republic of Kenya.”
The post requires Senate confirmation.
McCarter has served as a state senator since 2009, and did not seek re-election this year.
McCarter was not available by phone on Wednesday. According to his Facebook page, his father passed away on Saturday, with services pending in Oklahoma.
“It is bittersweet that I am now preparing for the funeral of my father who leaves a legacy of honoring God, serving others and saving the lives of thousands of children in Kenya,” he said in the statement.