“Right now in the wake of new leadership in Israel, it is a critically important moment in our alliance with our friend and ally. And we have with us today someone with the experience, credibility, and respect to serve as our ambassador to Israel — and he just happens to have been born in Minnesota. As usual. And I am so proud to introduce my good friend Tom Nides.

“With Tom today is his son Max, who will testify to the fact that his dad is wise and patient all the time, right Max? OK, good.

“And I want to tell you a little bit about Tom. He grew up in Duluth as the youngest of eight siblings. His father, Arnold, served as the president of Temple Israel and of the Duluth Jewish Federation; and his mother, Shirley, was a teacher.

“His sister, Jane, told the Duluth News Tribune that their parents “would be going crazy with joy” if they were alive to see their son nominated to serve as ambassador to Israel. I was amused the day that Tom was nominated to read the headline in … Duluth, which said simply this: “Man who grew up in Duluth nominated (US) ambassador to Israel.”

“Tom was innovative from a young age. As a senior at Duluth East High School, he was tasked with finding a speaker for his high school graduation. Being the proud Minnesotan he was, he wanted Walter Mondale, who just happened to be vice president of the United States. He learned that the best time as a high schooler to catch the vice president’s chief of staff was at 5:30 in the morning. He reached out, and Walter Mondale agreed to speak at his high school graduation.

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“A year later, Tom and I met as interns for the vice president, and I remember walking in and seeing him sitting at the desk as a 20-year-old, his legs sprawled up on the desk above him, sitting on the chair with the vice presidential pin on his lapel. And I watched him answer the phone and say, ‘Tom Nides, with the Vice President’s Office,’ in a tone that would convince anyone that he was no 20-year-old intern, but he was in fact the chief of staff.

“While I was assigned to do the furniture inventory, and write down the serial number of every lamp and desk, Tom got to save the Lake Superior foghorn for the city of Duluth; and just like everything else, he got it done

“Since then he has continued to serve ably — and most importantly for our work here, optimistically — in many leadership positions, including in the halls of Congress and in two presidential administrations.

“He was a trusted advisor to Congressman Tony Coelho and to Speaker Tom Foley. He worked for Mickey Kantor in the office of the United States Trade Representative, and he later served as Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources with Secretary (Hillary) Clinton under President (Barack) Obama. During that time, he distinguished himself as a key voice on Israel and an advocate for humanitarian support for our U.S. allies.

“For his outstanding service, he was awarded the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award, our country’s highest diplomatic honor.

“His private-sector and trade background, as well as his strong background in Middle Eastern policy, makes him the perfect choice to serve as our ambassador to Israel, one of our strongest and most enduring allies.

“Members on both sides of the aisle understand that the deep friendship between our two countries is based on shared values — and that Israel’s interests in the Middle East are strongly aligned with our own. Support for Israel can never ever become a partisan issue.

“Now more than ever, we need an ambassador dedicated to fostering lasting peace and stability. I am confident that as ambassador, Tom will further the close alliance between our two nations and our commitment to prosperity in the region for generations to come.

“He will do a phenomenal job, Mr. Chair, and I strongly urge the committee to support his nomination.”

— U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, at Wednesday’s confirmation hearing before the Foreign Relations Committee