Visiting with Victor Part 1: His Work Life

(WVLT) - Many of us know him as the former Mayor of Knoxville. But for the past three years, Victor Ashe has been the U.S. Ambassador to Poland.

Our Alan Williams got a chance to spend a few days with Ashe and his family, went to work with him, and even ate at their dinner table... all in Warsaw, Poland.

He shows us in Part 1 of "Visiting with Victor."

Warsaw is a city of two and a half million people, basking in its unique European architecture, and now barley resembles what it once looked like after the Nazi's and Soviet Union decimated it decades ago.

Proud of its heritage, it's now on an economic upswing.

Victor Ashe, U.S. Ambassador to Poland, knows that more than most.

On 7:15 a.m. Tuesday morning at the residence, with a staff car waiting, a reception is first on the agenda.

We take off in his chauffeured limousine, on a brisk pace with flags flying, we're making good time.

"The car I'm driving in is a normal standard issue for every ambassador world-wide and can withstand an attack by an AK-47, or other type of explosives," said Ashe.

Our meeting point is a breakfast hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce.

Only 15 years out of communism, the floodgates of free dialogue is being optimized by journalists in their opinions of government.

Two hours later, it was onto the embassy.

Our cameras are only limited to the shooting exterior of the building, as well as in the ambassador's office.

Its down at the end of a long hallway, through the offices of his staff, to his awaiting personal staff, and the ambassador's daily briefing where various newspaper and wire reports are discussed.

On the wall is a map of every city, town and village in Poland with conspicuous orange dots.

"First of all, you know why they are orange dots, UT... orange... Ukraine... orange freedom... revolution... democracy... but they show where I've been in Poland since I've been here in a little over 3 years."

It covers over 130 cities.

"I'm asked why are you here, and I say I'm the American Ambassador to P-oland, not just Warsaw," he said. "Having been a major myself, I enjoy meeting with mayors from polish cities."

A mayor's night out of sorts.

"If the Polish Ambassador for the United States only stayed in Washington, what would he know about America? Not a lot. If I only stayed in Warsaw and maybe went to only 1 or 2 cities, but no where else, I would have missed out on 35 million Polish citizens."

His influence among the polish people has been so strong. In his three years here, he's garnered the reputation as the best ambassador this country has ever had.

Still, he doesn't forget about where he came from.

With pictures of earlier days in politics and and friendships from East Tennessee.

"I like to remind myself of home, of where I was born and raised in Knoxville. Hopefully someday I will return."

One day he'll get there, if the polish people let him leave.

To view Part 2 of "Visiting with Victor," click the link below.


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