A pair of resolutions passed in recent weeks in both houses of Georgia’s legislature shows bipartisan alignment on at least one issue: that a “special relationship” with the United Kingdom holds multifaceted benefits for the state.
The terminology echoes that used by national leaders aiming to affirm the alignment of values between the U.S. and the United Kingdom, though the Brexit process, and President Donald Trump’s comments on it while visiting the U.K. last year, have caused some strains in the alliance.
Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle introduced identical resolutions in the Georgia State Senate and House of Representatives celebrating educational, cultural and economic ties across the pond and praising U.K. Consul General Andrew Staunton for his “indefatigable efforts” to enhance them.
The Scottish-born diplomat took up his post as U.K. consul general in the Southeast last July; Atlanta is the base for the consulate, which covers six states. The consul general’s residence is also here.
As noted in the wide-ranging resolution, Georgia alone is home to 330-plus British facilities employing more than 18,800 people. The University System of Georgia offers 80 study-abroad programs to the United Kingdom, and strong bilateral military ties benefit Georgia, which has major defense and aerospace industries. Delta Air Lines, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways offer nonstop flights to London from Atlanta, helping bring in more than 100,000 visitors from the U.K. to Georgia annually, who contribute $170 million to the state’s economy.
The resolution notes that the state has had a trade and investment representative located in the United Kingdom for more than 20 years, driving a trade relationship that meant $1.28 billion in Georgia exports and $3.96 billion in imports last year.
It also points to the role of the British-American Business Council of Georgia in fostering cross-border business relations.
The house resolution was sponsored by Michael Caldwell, a Democrat from Woodstock, and passed Jan. 29.
“We were delighted by the warm reception we received in the Georgia General Assembly,” Mr. Staunton told Global Atlanta. “The bipartisan resolutions authored by Rep. Caldwell and Sen. Jordan are a testament to the lasting relationship between the State of Georgia and the United Kingdom.”
Sponsors of Senate Resolution 50, adopted Feb. 7, include:
- Jen Jordan (D-6)
- Kay Kirkpatrick (R-32)
- Sally Harrell (D-40)
- Sheikh Rahman (D-5)
- P. K. Martin IV (R-9)
- Brandon Beach (R-21)
Read more about Mr. Staunton in this summary of Global Atlanta’s 2018 Consular Conversation with him: Beyond Brexit: Amid Present Uncertainty, New British Diplomat Builds Bridges to the Future
See the full Senate resolution below:179840