Guten Morgen und Grüß Gott!
It is both delightful and humbling to stand before you today as the United States Ambassador-designate to the Republic of Austria. And it is very personal. Austria is not just a country I know, it is a country for which I have great affection (love is a much stronger term in German than it is in English). The first country outside my own that I ever visited. The reason of course was because my grandfather was also ambassador to Austria and I may be the first American Ambassador ever to assume his grandfather’s post. While I have visited many times since I will never forget the first occasion I had to spend time here and how magical it was.
Later today when I arrive at my residence it will be the first time I have set foot in the building since I was a boy. Unfortunately, my grandfather will not be there today to greet me like he did before but I am sure he will be watching from above and I hope he will be proud of me.
My young children will join my wife and me once their school classes in California conclude for the summer break. We are excited to be spending time here, to be meeting Austrians and to be enjoying the wonderful and unique culture that defines your great nation. Austria was one of America’s first friends and we are here to remind everyone how important that relationship still is today – over 180 year later.
While my family and I will live in Vienna, we are excited to see all of Austria. It is my priority to visit every province in my first year. We want to meet people from across the country and to experience the unique regional cultures and geographies that make up the republic.
There is so much that links the people of Austria to the people of America. My work here – supported by our terrific Embassy team — will be to emphasize and strengthen our already strong ties. We are at a moment of great economic opportunity and both nations are growing at a rate above the average. America is one of Austria’s most important trading and investment partners, and there is so much more we can be doing together to benefit both of our economies. We can and will work to make that happen.
My family and I are excited to be here and we thank you for the warm welcome.