Former Sen. Isakson first created the bipartisan BBQ to bridge partisan divides in Senate chamber

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WASHINGTON — This afternoon, U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) co-hosted “Senator Johnny Isakson’s Bipartisan Barbecue,” a Senators-only event to facilitate conversations across the aisle within the chamber.

Once per year—in place of the regularly scheduled Democratic and Republican caucus lunches—Senator Isakson, a Republican from Georgia who served in the Senate from 2005 to 2019, brought together Democrats and Republicans to enjoy barbecue from his home state. Today’s event represents a continuation of this tradition, the first such event since Senator Isakson’s retirement, with barbecue provided by South 40 Smokehouse in Marietta, Georgia.

“Senator Isakson always strived to bring people together, and he was often the glue between senators working to get important legislation moving,” said Senator Coons. “Barbecue isn’t magic, but coming together for a meal can help facilitate some important conversations and build new relationships. We cannot stop trying to hear each other and work out our differences – that’s why we’re relaunching the bipartisan barbecue in Johnny Isakson’s honor.”

“It is an honor to help to carry on this rich tradition started by Senator Johnny Isakson, one of Georgia’s most esteemed leaders,” said Senator Warnock. “As my colleagues and I enjoy some barbecue—brought to the Capitol from the great state of Georgia—we celebrate Senator Isakson, my predecessor in the Senate, and his tireless commitment to bipartisanship in an effort to move legislation through this body that helps people, despite party and policy differences.”

“Senator Johnny Isakson is famous in Georgia and Washington for his ability to make new friends and keep old friends,” said Senator Blunt. “There is no better way to honor his mark on the Senate than to carry on this bipartisan – and delicious – tradition. The Members of the Senate may not always see eye to eye, but we should always find ways to work together for the people we serve, just as Johnny always did.”

“I’m excited to continue the Johnny Isakson tradition of having a bipartisan barbeque with Senators Coons, Blunt, and Warnock,” said Senator Graham. “Our country is very divided, and Congress is no different. However, being from the great state of South Carolina, I understand the magic of barbeque is unlimited. This is a good start to helping heal a fractured Congress and honoring our great colleague Senator Isakson.”