Campus law school’s Maria Echaveste withdraws name from ambassador nomination

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Maria Echaveste, a program director at the UC Berkeley School of Law, withdrew her nomination to serve as the U.S. ambassador to Mexico earlier this week, according to a White House official.

Echaveste was nominated by President Barack Obama in September and had awaited confirmation for months before deciding to withdraw her name. She “cited the prolonged confirmation process and her family’s best interests in her request,” the official wrote in an email.

“While the president regrets the long delays in this confirmation process that has led to her decision, he accepts it and wishes her all the best in future endeavors,” the official said.

Echaveste — the daughter of Mexican immigrants — is the policy and program development director at the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy at the law school, where she used to lecture. She is also a senior fellow at the campus Center for Latin American Studies, where she has been involved in the U.S.-Mexico Futures Forum.

Had her nomination been confirmed, Echaveste would have been the first woman to hold the position.

“She would have brought unusual knowledge of the region and experience in the U.S. government along with some extraordinary talent to the position,” said Harley Shaiken, chair of the Center for Latin American Studies.

In its statement, the White House referred to Echaveste as “a proven leader and a renowned expert on U.S.-Mexico policy with a strong record of public service.”

Echaveste served as an assistant and deputy chief of staff to former president Bill Clinton from 1998 to 2001, during which time she worked on several issues related to Mexico and Latin America. She also co-founded the Nueva Vista Group, LLC, a government relations firm.

Echaveste could not be reached for comment.

“It’s unfortunate that the delay in a confirmation hearing essentially resulted in her withdrawal,” Shaiken said. “But I know she will continue to make stellar contributions to U.S.-Mexican relations in many different ways.”

Chloee Weiner is a news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @_chloeew .