Peoria Journal Star

May 25, 2001

Ex-Peorian expected to get ambassadorship 
   Bush to nominate Nancy Brinker to position in Hungary


By DORI MEINERT 
of Copley News Service

WASHINGTON, D.C. - President Bush plans to nominate Peoria native Nancy Goodman Brinker to be ambassador to Hungary. 

Brinker, 54, is the founding chairwoman of The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, named after her sister who died of the disease. 

"Nancy Brinker is a committed community leader whose efforts in the United States and around the world to raise breast cancer awareness have saved countless lives," President Bush said in a statement released by the White House late Wednesday. 

"Nancy will serve with distinction as our next ambassador to the Republic of Hungary." 

The White House will formally send her nomination to the Senate in the next week or so. It won't be final until she's confirmed by that body. 

"I'm very honored to be under consideration for this extremely important position," said Brinker, who was reached in New York. "I'm honored that the president would nominate me and I'm looking forward to the Senate confirmation process." 

Bush nominees - particularly those with political connections - may face greater hurdles in that body with Democrats set to take control. 

Brinker contributed $36,500 to Republican candidates and the party's campaign committee over the last two years, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. 

In addition, she donated $25,000 to the Bush Inaugural Committee. And, she's listed as one of the Bush "Pioneers," those individuals who have raised more than $100,000 for the presidential campaign. 

Her former husband, Texas restaurant magnate Norman Brinker, contributed even more - $63,500. 

Brinker also is a Bush family friend. Laura Bush has appeared frequently at Komen Foundation events in Dallas, according to Brinker's mother, Ellie Goodman. Goodman and her husband, Marvin, own the Metro Centre strip mall. 

Noting Hungary's burgeoning economy, "I think they wanted someone who is capable of getting people to cooperate with each other and to coordinate things, and that's right up Nancy's alley," said Ellie Goodman. "We're very proud of her." 

U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood, R-Peoria, predicted Brinker's nomination "will fly through the Senate." 

"This is not a surprise. I figured when Bush got elected that Nancy Brinker would play a prominent role in his administration," LaHood said. 

Brinker was born in Peoria, where she graduated from Richwoods High School. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Illinois in 1968. She now lives in Palm Beach, Fla. 

She was appointed in 1986 by then-President Reagan to the National Cancer Advisory Board and by the elder Bush in 1991 to the three-member President's Cancer Panel. 

She founded The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation in 1982. The foundation has 114 national affiliates plus offices in Greece, Germany and Italy. 

The foundation sponsors the Race for the Cure, the largest series of 5 kilometer fitness runs in the world. State Journal-Register.