On March 28, I was invited to brief Florida's junior Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and his staff on the services the Miami Passport Agency provides U.S. citizens. Customer Service Assistant Rose Mederick, one of the agency's congressional liaison officers, as well as officials from other South Florida-based federal agencies, joined me to highlight their programs and the services they provide. The senator and his staff were very thankful for the Miami Passport Agency's work assisting U.S. citizens with their passport requests. He made special note of the many constituent requests his office receives for "very last-minute" passport emergencies and praised our ability to assist them in time for their international departures. The senator and his staff also lauded the outreach we do in Florida's diverse community and with our local press.
I am very privileged to be part of the Bureau of Consular Affairs in my role as one of the adjudication managers at the Miami Passport Agency. It is an honor to serve the public and lead a stellar team of career civil service officers -- several of whom have served in other cities and overseas. I have also come to realize that for most U.S. citizens, the only "direct” contact they will ever have with the U.S. Department of State is through their experience with Passport Services. Passport Services and its personnel in 26 cities around the country serve on the front lines of consular affairs and public diplomacy for the Department. I also recognize the value of maintaining very close relations with our congressional contacts; it's a rare and unique opportunity to be able to interact directly with the members of Congress themselves in their own districts, many of whom serve on key committees for the Department.
I know my passion for public service is shared nationwide by my colleagues who work tirelessly to build a positive image with the public, media, and members of Congress and to reflect the Bureau of Consular Affairs' world-wide commitment to efficient government service.
Passport Day in the U.S.A. is Saturday, April 9, 2011. On that day, you can visit a passport agency in your community to learn more about consular services.