In the News
July 21, 2016
By Alex Gangitano
While members of Congress had some downtime over recess, a few learned about Brexit directly from members of Parliament across the pond.
British parliamentarians are each year matched with members of Congress, whom they shadow as part of the State Department’s British-American Parliamentary Group project.
The project, co-funded by the British Parliament and the State Department, has been operating annually since 1977.
This year’s participants in the program which began last Friday include California Democratic Reps. Scott Peters, Eric Swalwell and Tony Cardenas, as well as Republican Reps. Steve Russell of Oklahoma, Paul Gosar of Arizona, Chuck Fleishmann of Tennessee, Jeff Fortenbery of Nebraska, and Robert B. Aderholt of Alabama, who has been involved for eight years.
Peters, who represents San Diego , was sought by Angela Crawley, a member of Parliament from the Scottish National Party.
When she arrived in San Diego, Peters took her to a cookout on the beach, where she talked about Britain's exit from the European Union. She wasn’t too happy about it, Peters said.
“She represents a lot of farmers who are concerned about trade with Europe and open borders within Europe and so she was expressing a lot of concern about that,” Peters said. And Crawley is worried that Britain won’t get a good deal on their way out of Europe, he said.
On Saturday, Crawley — one of more than 30 LGBT members of parliament — got to experience the way America does Pride.
She attended a women’s brunch with Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, the first openly bisexual governor in the country, and the former speaker of the California State Assembly, Toni Atkins, the first lesbian elected to the position.
“We were very proud to show her San Diego ,” Peters said. “I think she was very impressed with the people at the Pride parade. We’ve been electing LGBT people locally for about 25 years now. So I think we’re a little bit further ahead than where Angela comes from.”
Peters and Crawley marched together in the parade for which Peters’ interns made rainbow tutus and a sign for Crawley that read, “Scots for Scottie.”
“She said we have a bigger pride parade than London, which I thought was pretty cool,” Peters said.
Crawley had a Mexican food lunch with Peters and his staff and watched a play at the La Jolla Playhouse with his wife, Lynn. Crawley spoke with Truman fellows on Sunday about national defense before departing.
“I just think it’s always good from an intuitional perspective to have interaction with other nations,” Peters said. “I’m just really interested, I think you can learn a lot from these kind of exchanges.”
The United Kingdom’s new Prime Minister Theresa May participated in the program in 2004. May shadowed GOP Rep. Gil Gutknecht who represented Minnesota's 1st District from 1995 to 2007.