Metro-East News

Local state senator nominated as next ambassador to Kenya

State Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon, has been nominated to be the next U.S. ambassador to Kenya.
State Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon, has been nominated to be the next U.S. ambassador to Kenya. File photo

State Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon, may soon have a new job.

The White House announced Wednesday that President Donald Trump has nominated McCarter to be the next ambassador to Kenya.

McCarter, who did not run for re-election, applied for the job a year ago. He and his wife, Victoria, have worked in Kenya for more than 30 years and founded the Each One Feed One International charity in Tharaka, Kenya. The charity has worked with a K-8 elementary school, helped hundreds of abandoned, abused and orphaned children, and provided a medical clinic that serves about 15,000 people a year.

McCarter, in an interview Wednesday, said he will be preparing for a confirmation hearing with the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, which he hopes to take place within the next two to three weeks.

“We have a great love for that country and the people,” McCarter said. “This is the highest of honors to represent the United States and show the generosity of the people of the United States to a people we know well and love.”

McCarter was also recommended for the position by all seven Republican members of the Illinois congressional delegation, including U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphsyboro, U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, and U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville.

The state senator said he had considered another run for congress if he was not nominated for the ambassador position. In 2016 McCarter lost in the Republican primary when he challenged Shimkus.

McCarter said he isn’t worried about dealing with criticism for Trump’s alleged “shithole” comment about immigrants coming from Africa. Trump denied the comments.

“No democracy is without some messiness. Every democracy has some messy parts. Sometimes to become the country you’re going to become, you go through some struggles,” McCarter said. “It’s no different anywhere in the world. I know the country I’m going to. And I know how generous our country is, and I think the people of Kenya do, too.”