Past Event / April 25, 2022

Virtual Town Hall with Rep. Don Bacon

Featured Speakers:

Event Recap

At a time of unprecedented and growing global threats, including Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, U.S. global engagement has never been more important. On April 25, USGLC hosted an interactive discussion with Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE-02) on the role of development and diplomacy in advancing the security, economic interests, and values of Nebraskans and all Americans. As the co-chair of the House Baltic Caucus, Rep. Bacon specifically highlighted the need for continued U.S. leadership to support U.S. allies and partners in the region and to counter further Russian aggression.

Key Quotes from the Conversation

On the Conflict in Ukraine

“America can’t do this alone. We have to bring the world with us. I think that the U.S. has to lead the free world, and we have to lead the free world here with Ukraine. But we can’t do it by ourselves, so we’ve got to build a team. It’s got to be some humble leadership. We’ve got to be good listeners, take inputs from the free world. But we have to lead the free world to respond to these threats.”

On Food Security

“I think we should leverage our agricultural production capabilities to help step in and fill this gap while we’re also trying to help Ukraine get back on its feet. It’s going take some diplomatic work as well because this can’t be America alone. Canada has some great capabilities. Here we’ve got Argentina and Brazil, too that can help fill some of the needs in the Middle East and North Africa. It’s going take some diplomatic muscle. But there’s no doubt that the U.S. has the agriculture economic means to really fill in part of this gap that’s going to develop. There’s a diplomatic piece here. We have agriculture; agriculture is our competitive advantage. We’ve got to use it; we’ve got to leverage it. It’s going to take diplomacy to open up some trade doors to make this happen, too.”

On Strengthening American Diplomacy

“We do want a strong State Department. We need strong ambassadors. We need strong aid programs to help get to the root of problems. A lot of times food poverty leads to civil wars and things like that. So we definitely want a strong State Department. Strong ambassadors will lessen the need for the military. That’s a good thing.”

On Nebraska’s Place in the World

“So, what does it mean to Nebraska? Our world is a better place with America’s values. […] If America sticks its head in the ground and develops a more isolationist mindset, China and Russia will fill that void. And at some point, at our doorstep, will be those threats and those values that we abhor. We need a strong State Department, strong diplomacy to defend our values globally.”

Statistics About Nebraska’s Role in the Global Economy

  • In Nebraska, 255,600 jobs were supported by international trade in 2019, representing nearly 1 in 5of all jobs in the state.
  • Agricultural exports are important to Nebraska’s’ economy, totaling $7.1 billionin 2020, according to the USDA.
  • During 20214,415international students were enrolled in Nebraska colleges and universities and contributed $118 million to the Nebraska economy.

Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE-02) Bio

Representative Don Bacon was first elected to Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District in 2016. He serves on the House Committee on Armed Services and the House Committee on Agriculture, where he is a Ranking Member of the Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight and Department Operations. He is a founding member of the For Country Caucus, as well as a member of the Climate Solutions Caucus and the Republican Study Committee. Prior to being elected to Congress, Rep. Bacon served in the U.S. Air Force for nearly 30 years, earning numerous military decorations and ultimately retiring as a Brigadier General.

Read more about Rep. Bacon here