President Barack Obama made the appointment on Sept. 10 after fellow House Republicans recommended Meadows, R-Cashiers, for the job.
“I was surprised as a freshman that I was selected,” Meadows said, adding that more than a dozen other Republicans were up for the appointment. “Certainly, it is an honor.”
Ironically, Meadows has been a critic of the U.N., questioning its authority and power.
“The laws of the international community should not usurp the laws of our Constitution,” Meadows said.
However, he supports the U.N.’s global humanitarian relief efforts.
As one of only two representatives to the U.N. General Assembly, Meadows, along with U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Lee, D-California, will act as a liaison between the U.S. and other countries. Meadows and Lee fall on the opposite ends of the political spectrum, with Lee being one of the most liberal members of Congress.
“Neither one is a centrist,” said Chris Cooper, head of the of Political Science and Public Affairs department at Western Carolina University. “I think that is interesting.”
They will attend meetings with international delegates and ambassadors as well as make them feel welcome during visits to Washington, D.C.
“Serving as a direct liaison between Congress and the U.N., I am committed to keeping my House colleagues well-informed of any issues that might require Congressional action,” Meadows said.
Meadows appointment as a freshman is impressive.
“I think for a freshman member of Congress, it’s an important nomination,” Cooper said. “I think that says that he is sort of pretty quickly establishing himself as a junior power player in Congress.”
However, Cooper qualified his statements, saying it is not the most important nomination.
During his brief time in Congress thus far, Meadows has made foreign relations his specialty, serving on the House foreign affairs committee as well as its’ Africa subcommittee. Recently, he and several other representatives met with Vice President Joe Biden to discuss Syria.
His selection as a liaison the U.N. General Assembly shows that other Republicans could deem the Meadows as a rising star in the party.
“Other members are clearly looking to him for guidance on foreign policy,” Cooper said. “In some ways, this could be seen as a boon for Western North Carolina.”
Meadows said he will continue to work on behalf of his constituents in WNC and will work extra hours to fulfill his new role.