Peoria Journal Star

August 4, 2001

Brinker to resign from Komen post 
   Senate clears Richwoods alumna for Hungary ambassadorship 

By DORI MEINERT 
of Copley News Service

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Peoria native Nancy Goodman Brinker was easily
confirmed by the Senate on Friday to be the next ambassador to Hungary. 

Brinker was one of 58 nominees approved by voice vote just prior to the
Senate adjourning for its August recess. 

"I'm very thrilled and delighted and looking forward to being able to serve our country in the best way I can," Brinker said from her home in Palm Beach, Fla. 

She expects to be sworn in sometime in September and will leave for
Hungary the next day. 

A high-profile voice in the fight against breast cancer, Brinker must resign
from the board of The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation in Dallas,
Texas. She established the foundation in 1982 in memory of her sister who
died of the disease. The foundation currently has 114 national affiliates plus
offices in Greece, Germany and Italy. 

Brinker, 54, said she has State Department permission to return to the United
States in late September for a 10-day tour to publicize her book, "Winning
the Race." 

Brinker and her ex-husband, restaurant magnate Norman Brinker, contributed $125,000 to Republicans in the last election cycle. Nancy Brinker also is listed as one of the Bush "Pioneers," having raised another $100,000 for the presidential campaign. 

Presidents have a long tradition of appointing campaign contributors to serve
as ambassadors, but the practice draws criticism from groups such as the
Center for Responsive Politics and the American Foreign Service Association, which represents career foreign service personnel. 

Brinker, however, rejects suggestions that she and other political appointees
aren't qualified for the job. 

"I would like to think that my 25 years of helping to lead a movement and
give shape to it and building a rather large nonprofit corporation, serving on
many corporate boards . . . would serve as background for this job," Brinker
said. 

In recent weeks, she's been attending State Department briefings, taking
Hungarian language classes and reading about Hungarian culture and
customs. There are 440 employees at the U.S. Embassy in Budapest. 

Born in Peoria, she graduated from Richwoods High School and earned a
bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois in 1968. 

When President Bush nominated her to the post earlier this year, he
described Brinker as a "committed community leader whose efforts in the
United States and around the world to raise breast cancer awareness have
saved countless lives." 

She served on the National Cancer Advisory Board under an appointment
from President Reagan, and on the President's Cancer Panel under an
appointment by the former President Bush. 

- CNS correspondent Paul Krawzak contributed to this story.