By Ron Kampeas
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden nominated Los Angeles’ Jewish mayor, Eric Garcetti, to be his ambassador to India.
In announcing the nomination on Friday, the White House emphasized Garcetti’s experience in leading an international city. Garcetti, 50, who was raised Jewish and attended Jewish summer camp, was a co-chairman of Biden’s presidential campaign and helped select his running mate, Kamala Harris.
“As mayor, Garcetti oversees the busiest container port in the Western Hemisphere, the largest municipal utility in the country, and one of the busiest airports in the world,” the announcement said. “Garcetti co-founded Climate Mayors and led more than 400 U.S. mayors to adopt the Paris Climate agreement.”
Garcetti said last December he would not seek a post in the Biden administration, saying he was needed in Los Angeles to lead it through the coronavirus pandemic and the unrest that engulfed American cities after a Minneapolis policeman murdered George Floyd in May 2020.
Garcetti, whose term was due to end in December 2022, told The Los Angeles Times that his skills would be put to good use in India.
“We can’t get our climate goals without India hitting its climate goals,” he told the newspaper. “We can’t see the economy truly reopened to international commerce and tourism until COVID is under control. We’re all very closely connected.”
A network of city mayors Garcetti leads, C40 Cities, has assisted India in addressing two of its most pressing problems — meeting climate change challenges, and a resurgence of the COVID virus.
Garcetti, first elected in 2013, is Los Angeles’ first Jewish mayor since 1878. He has Mexican heritage on his father’s side and Russian Ashkenazi heritage on his mother’s side.