State of Washington secondary Archives: on Foreign Policy

Michael Baumgartner: Served as lead strategic-policy coordinator in Baghdad

In 2007, as conditions in Iraq were going downhill, Michael Baumgartner made what seemed to him like a logical decision: He moved there. "Some Americans were stepping up to serve, and I felt compelled," said Baumgartner, now a U.S. Senate candidate. "I wasn't married, I didn't have children."

It wasn't his first time abroad. The 36-year-old Republican, who represents Spokane in the state Senate, has lived or worked in 70 countries. But it was his first time in a war zone. The year Baumgartner spent as the State Department's lead strategic-policy coordinator in Baghdad, followed by seven months advising a counternarcotics team in Afghanistan, forged his belief that foreign policy should be higher on voters' priority list..

After earning a master's degree in public administration at Harvard in 2002, he spent the next five years advising the prince of Dubai on economic development, consulting with Saudi business groups and helping an American mining company respond to the Venezuelan government.

Source: Seattle Times on 2012 WA Senate debate Sep 15, 2012

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