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Kelly Knight Craft, Trump pick for Canadian ambassador, to face confirmation hearing

Kelly Knight Craft speaks at the inauguration of Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, right of the podium in pale blue tie, December, 2015.

Teresa Revlett/Kentucky Press Association

U.S. President Donald Trump's nominee to serve as ambassador to Canada will undergo her Senate confirmation hearing next Thursday, in an effort to have her in place in Ottawa as NAFTA negotiations commence.

The U.S. Senate foreign relations committee is responsible for approving diplomatic appointments and it announced Friday that Kelly Knight Craft and two other presidential nominees will have their hearing at a joint session next week, where they will face questions from lawmakers.

She will be testifying alongside Trump's picks for ambassador to NATO and the UK.

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Read more: Trump's ambassador pick sends GOP power couple to Ottawa

The Trump administration wants to have its ambassador in Canada as soon as possible, given than NAFTA negotiations are expected to start next month. News of Knight Craft's hearing comes on the same day that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau heard plaudits about her from the governor of her home state of Kentucky.

She is a well-connected political donor and philanthropist in the state, is married to a prominent coal magnate, and helped organize the governor's inauguration festivities.

"You're going to have a good colleague," Bevin told the prime minister during a meeting at a conference of U.S. state governors.

"You're getting someone who's gracious, and very well-networked. Very respected."

Trudeau replied that this will make two straight envoys to Canada with Kentucky ties.

He informed the governor that the wife of the last ambassador to Canada, Vicki Heyman, was also from his state.

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"I have to say, Ottawa had gotten fond of the previous ambassador's wife who's a proud Kentuckian as well, Vicki Heyman... She did Kentucky Derby parties every year," Trudeau said.

"So that tradition's gonna continue!"

It's unclear how many questions Knight Craft might face. At Bruce Heyman's hearing, he got only a few questions while nominees to other posts got grilled.

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