March 13, 2018
TACOMA, WA – Congressman Derek Kilmer (D-WA) joined over 100 local political, business, and community leaders in Tacoma on Monday for a timely discussion on the importance of continued U.S. investment in diplomacy and development assistance for U.S. national security and Washington State’s economy.
“We all want to see an economy where we export American products – not American jobs. We all want a foreign policy that keeps Americans safe and secure. Progress on these fronts requires an America that is engaged in the world,” Rep. Derek Kilmer said. “When we use smart power that works for peace, lifts people out of poverty, and uses the appropriate tools in our foreign policy toolbox, it reduces the potential for military conflict and increases opportunities for local businesses in our region.”
Just last month, the Administration released its FY2019 budget proposal, calling for a new deep and disproportionate 30% cut to the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
Former U.S. Ambassador W. Robert Pearson explained that without adequate resources and personnel, those working for the State Department “cannot do the job we’re supposed to do, we cannot fulfill the mission we have.” He went on to express his “appreciation for Congressman Kilmer and his colleagues in the Senate…who have really carried the burden to save the State Department.”
Lt. General Stephen Lanza, U.S. Army (Ret.) also joined Monday’s panel discussion, hosted by the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC).
“If 9/11 taught us nothing else over the last 17 plus years, it taught us that issues of security have to be done holistically…so this continued push to have the capabilities, the resources we need in the State Department isn’t just an issue for diplomacy, it impacts global security,” said General Lanza.
Nearly 1 million Washington jobs are tied to international trade, and exports to foreign markets total close to $80 billion a year – making America’s global engagement vital to Washington State’s economy.
“At the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, we know that 1 in 5 jobs are tied to international trade, one-third of all manufacturing jobs in the U.S. are directly tied to exports, and we understand that the critical programs funded by the International Affairs Budget help keep America competitive in the global marketplace, which is the key to our economic prosperity here at home,” said Tom Pierson, President & CEO, Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce.
Doug Treff, Chief Financial Officer of World Vision US addressed the local leaders in the room alongside Tom Pierson.
“Today, the United States is providing foreign assistance in new and ever-increasingly effective ways,” said Treff. “And World Vision, a Christian relief and development organization, is just one of many American organizations working to make the world a better, safer, and more just place. Strategic investments in these programs are critical to tackling global challenges like hunger, poverty, and disease…when America leads, we all win.”
A strong and growing coalition in Washington, the USGLC’s Washington Advisory Committee brings together nearly 100 business, faith, non-profit, and political leaders who understand why American global leadership matters for Washington.
“With the Administration calling for deep and disproportionate cuts to American diplomacy and foreign assistance, Congressman Kilmer’s voice is needed on Capitol Hill now more than ever before,” said Carey Campbell, Director of Outreach for the USGLC. “He understands that an investment in our diplomatic and development programs is an investment in the security of our country and the strength of Washington State’s economy.”
The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (www.usglc.org) is a broad-based influential network of 500 businesses and NGOs; national security and foreign policy experts; and business, faith-based, academic, military, and community leaders in all 50 states who support strategic investments to elevate development and diplomacy alongside defense in order to build a better, safer world.