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2004-05-10 11:07:43

New U.S. Ambassador Named

Floridian real estate broker John D. Rood has reportedly raised over $200,000 for the 2004 George W. Bush re-election campaign.

It probably helped to convince the American President to nominate him as the new United States Ambassador to The Bahamas, which is viewed in many diplomatic and political circles as a plum posting.

Almost a year after embattled diplomat James Richard Blankenship resigned from his position, President Bush recently named his successor in a White House press statement.

But Mr. Rood's nomination has to get the approval of the U.S. Senate before it takes effect.

A Floridian, the current chairman of the Vestcor Group of Companies, started the enterprise in 1983 which develops multi family rental and condominium communities. It has expanded into broader real estate development, construction and management services.

The entrepreneur is a licensed Florida real estate broker, mortgage broker and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration from the University of Montana.

The announcement from the White House is the first talk of a successor to the last Ambassador whose time here was marked by controversy, diplomatic flap and criticisms.

Mr. Rood has held various positions in key Florida organizations like the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce and the Jacksonville Housing Authority.

He was also a founding member of the First Coast Family and Housing Foundation Inc., a non-profit organization that owns and develops affordable housing.

Credited as an enterprising American, Mr. Rood is said to have used his expertise to expand his firm to include real estate investments, development of construction and property management services.

According to the organization, Texans for Public Justice, which is a non-partisan, non-profit policy and research centre which tracks the influence of money and corporate power in Texas politics, 14 percent of Mr. Bush's 2000 Pioneers are now receiving government pay checks.

Pioneers is the Republic Party's term for supporters who bundled together at least $100,000 worth of $1,000 checks. In this way, George W. Bush shattered presidential fundraising records in 2000. But back then Mr. Rood's contribution was around $43,000 in Republican hard money.

According to the research organization, two of the 2004 Pioneers who already work for the U.S. government are repeat Pioneers from 2000 whom Bush appointed as ambassadors.

The research centre also claims that once-Confederate Southern states like Florida are disproportionately fertile sources of Bush bundlers.

Tameka Lundy, The Bahama Journal 

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