ATLANTA — Former state Rep. Calvin Smyre is headed to New York City this month to serve as one of the United States’ official delegates to the United Nations General Assembly.
In this role, Smyre will rub elbows with leaders of nearly 200 nations and participate in discussions on global issues such as climate change, immigration and the impact of war and other international conflicts. The General Assembly is the main legislative body of the United Nations, and Smyre will serve as one of the United States’ five delegates alongside two members of Congress and two other private citizens.
“I am deeply honored to be appointed representative of the United States at the United Nations, and I am excited to have this opportunity to serve and represent the United States,” Smyre said in a statement Sunday. “I am grateful to President (Joe) Biden for this opportunity and the trust he has shown in me.”
Smyre, a Democrat who lives in Columbus, retired from the Georgia House in 2022. At the time, he was its longest-serving member having been in office for 48 years.
He was also looking forward to a new job in the Biden administration.
The president had announced in September 2021 that he wanted Smyre to serve as ambassador to the Dominican Republic. A few months later, Biden changed his mind and nominated Smyre to serve in the Bahamas instead.
But the Senate never acted, and the nomination died. Biden then reappointed Smyre in January 2023 to serve as ambassador to the Bahamas. Still, there has been no movement to confirm him. It remains pending.
The United Nations delegate role is a temporary one and not subject to Senate confirmation. It is separate from the permanent, Senate-approved positions, such as the one held by U.N. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield and formerly by Nikki Haley.
The General Assembly session officially opens on Tuesday, but the most important sessions will be held Sept. 18-26. During these “high-level” meetings, heads of state and other government leaders will deliver speeches.
Gov. Brian Kemp was among those who applauded Smyre, noting that their families have long been connected. Smyre served in the legislature alongside first lady Marty Kemp’s father, Bob Argo.
“Calvin will serve the entire country just as well in his new role as a public delegate to the 78 United Nations General Assembly,” Kemp said. “And we’re proud that he continues to represent our state in prominent ways.”