President Joe Biden modified last Friday the nomination of Calvin Smyre as U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic, and has been changed to ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.
With this change, Biden did not name another person to replace the nomination for the DR, so the country will remain without a U.S. ambassador, as it has been since the president took office in January 2021.
According to a State Department document, Biden nominated Smyre to be US representative in the country on September 22, 2021. In October of that same year, the House of Representatives, charged with approving the nomination, referred it to the International Relations Committee.
Biden nominates Calvin Smyre as Ambassador to the Dominican Republic
In a press release issued by the White House, President Biden announced his intention to nominate four new diplomats to represent the U.S. in foreign waters.
Calvin Smyre, 74, first elected in 1974 at the age of 26, is a Columbus Democrat who emerged as one of the most powerful members of the Georgia House when it was dominated by Democrats.
He was the first black legislator in Georgia to be named governor’s floor leader and to serve as state party chairman.
An expert at building relationships, Smyre was at the center of negotiations when then-Gov. Roy Barnes, decided to take down the 1956 Georgia flag and its Confederate emblem. As chairman of the House Rules Committee in the late 1990s and early 2000s, he had a say in every major Gold Dome bill.
Smyre’s roots in Democratic politics run deep. He was a deputy to President Jimmy Carter during his 1980 re-election bid, traveling to Kentucky in a Buick for the campaign. He co-chaired Bill Clinton’s campaigns in Georgia in 1992 and 1996 and was a key deputy to Al Gore in 2000.
In 2001, Smyre was named chairman of the Georgia Democratic Party, the first black to hold that office. He served as a Democratic elector in nine of the last 11 presidential races and was one of Biden’s earliest known supporters in Georgia.
Over 47 legislative sessions, Smyre has also become a mentor to dozens of politicians and staffers on both sides of the aisle and a fierce advocate for his party’s causes. Earlier this year, he took particular pride in helping mobilize Democrats to vote as a bloc against new language in state election law that imposes new voting hurdles.