News Column

Obama Appoints Punahou Classmate as U.S. Envoy

Aug. 2, 2013

President Barack Obama on Thursday nominated a former classmate from Punahou School as an ambassador of the United States to the Office of the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva.

Pamela K. Hamamoto's nomination is subject to Senate approval. She would succeed Betty E. King.

Also on Thursday a former aide to U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye was unanimously confirmed by the Senate as assistant secretary for legislative and intergovernmental affairs at the U.S. Department of Commerce. Margaret Cummisky, a native of Wahiawa, had worked for Inouye as staff director to the Senate Commerce Committee while he was chairman.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, a member of the Commerce Committee, called Cummisky "the consummate public servant."

"Margaret is incredibly knowledgeable and hard-working, and she truly lives the aloha spirit," Schatz said in a statement.

In a previous position as an executive at Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch, Hamamoto helped raise more than $500,000 for Obama's campaign.

Introducing him at a fundraiser in October, Hamamoto said they met in the fall of 1971 when they both transferred to Punahou.

She said they both played basketball at Punahou but didn't take classes together.

"I saw him to be an extremely hard worker, a loyal teammate, a fierce competitor and an inspirational leader just as he is today," she said.

"I'd like to think these formative years played a critical role in shaping who you are today ... and I'm pleased that the president brought many of these values and traits with him to the White House."

Obama had called it "the sweetest introduction I've (had) since I've been president."

Source: (c)2013 The Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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