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Rep. Garcetti will be appointed to a high-level diplomatic post in the US, sources say

A top aide to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will be named the US State Department’s first special envoy to link local governments to national foreign policy, the sources told The Times.

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken is expected to name Nina Hachigian on Monday as the country’s first special representative for subnational diplomacy.

“Subnational” diplomacy refers to government entities at the local level: cities and counties rather than nations.

Hachigian, 55, has served as Los Angeles deputy mayor for international affairs under Garcetti since 2017. Before that, she was a State Department diplomat assigned to the main Asian alliance, the Assn. of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The idea behind the new office, officials say, is to connect issues with local impact, such as climate change, with international programs, sharing information, ideas and money.

“Communities, cities and states are coming up with some of the most innovative and creative ideas to address many of the global challenges we face,” Hachigian said in an interview before his appointment. “It is vital that we at the State Department harness the ingenuity of our local communities as we strive to build a foreign policy for all Americans.”

US officials say the new office is meant to further connect foreign policy with the American middle class, a goal President Biden has declared since his election. Presumably it is also a way of protecting foreign policy from those who would argue that domestic affairs should come first at the expense of looking outward.

“A central task for us,” Hachigian said, “will be to bring the benefits of our foreign policy to the local level.”

Blinken, in a statement to be released later Monday, said America’s cities, counties and states are on the “front lines of many of our most pressing global issues, including climate change, economic justice and democratic renewal.

For example, when former President Trump tried to back down from efforts to combat climate change, it was local or regional entities, like California, that persisted in adopting programs to contain waste, pollution, and the explosion of climate destruction.

“US cities and states are incubators for fresh, innovative ideas that address global challenges, and the department should take advantage of these solutions,” Blinken said. Hachigian’s new office will lead and coordinate those efforts, she added.

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