A former member of the House Republican leadership has agreed to represent the Obama administration at a key meeting of Asia-Pacific leaders this week in Indonesia.
Retired GOP Congressman David Dreier spent 32 years in the United States House of Representatives representing parts of the San Gabriel Valley and served as Chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee. The Department of State is expected to formally announce Dreier's involvement later this week.
Dreier will represent Secretary of State John Kerry in meetings designed to increase the development of democracies in the Asia-Pacific region. Heads of state, foreign ministers and other leaders have attended the Bali Democracy Forum since its inception in 2008.
While there are a number of Republicans serving on behalf of the White House, including Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Dreier is the first former member of the GOP leadership in Congress to represent the Obama administration at a meeting of foreign leaders.
"We are Americans before we are partisans," Dreier told NBC 4. "The promotion of self-determination, the rule of law and the development of democratic institutions is an American ideal and no political party has a corner on it. At this time with so much division I'm honored to do anything possible to bridge that gap."
Dreier is currently Chairman of The Annenberg-Dreier Commission. The Commission helps foster international cooperation between nations in Asia, the Americas and the Greater Pacific. Among those on the commission's advisory board are former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former China Ambassador Jon Huntsman and Thomas "Mack" McLarty, former White House Chief of Staff for President Bill Clinton.
Dreier appeared on NBC 4's "News Conference" program Sunday and called on his former Republican colleagues to pass comprehensive immigration reform and lent his support to a "pathway to citizenship" as outlined in legislation passed by the U.S. Senate earlier this year.