The Leaderboard: Kirk Wagar

The Leaderboard profiles the people behind the policies of the Asia-Pacific.
Who is he?

Kirk Wagar is a Miami-based lawyer known for his active role in Democratic politics and fundraising. He has been engaged in the Democratic Party since the 1990s and ran the Florida finance operation for President Barack Obama’s campaigns in 2008 and 2012. Wagar was among Obama’s earliest and most outspoken supporters, describing him as “the most inspiring candidate America may ever see” during the 2008 presidential race.

From 2011 to 2012, he served on the Sub-Saharan Africa Advisory Committee of the U.S. Export-Import Bank. Originally from Canada, he was a rugby player and the first member of his family to attend college. He obtained his law degree from the University of Miami and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2004. Wagar is married and has two children.

Why is he in the news?

On June 27, Obama officially nominated Wagar to be the next U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Singapore. Wagar had long been rumored to be the White House’s leading pick for the post. If confirmed, he will succeed current ambassador David Adelman, who was also a lawyer and early supporter of Obama.

What can we expect from him?

Wagar is known for his optimism, unorthodox leadership style, and irrefutable belief in American values. His appointment as ambassador to Singapore is an astute one, given Wagar’s access to the White House and Singapore’s importance to U.S. strategic interests in the Asia Pacific.

Wagar will continue to play a critical role in strengthening commercial, defense, and cultural ties between Singapore and the United States. Expect him to be a champion of U.S. businesses in and exports to the region, as his experience with the Export-Import Bank will be valuable to the administration’s dealing with trade matters, including those related to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.


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