August 18, 2022

Rep. Derek Kilmer, Other State Leaders at USGLC Town Hall Discuss What U.S. Global Engagement is Worth to Washington

TACOMA, WA – On Wednesday, August 17, the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition hosted U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer (D-WA-06) for an interactive discussion on the economic and national security challenges of a changing climate, and why U.S. global engagement matters now more than ever. Rep. Kilmer was joined by Lt. Gen. John Regni, U.S. Air Force (Ret.) and Carla Costa Sandine, Chief of External Affairs at PATH, for a panel discussion on the importance of American investments in mitigating climate change, which increasingly poses new risks to America’s national security and economic interests both here at home in Washington and internationally.

“Without action, climate change will lead to devastating economic and national security consequences. It is a global issue that is felt locally, impacting the industries and jobs that are vital to Washington’s diverse economy,” said Rep. Derek Kilmer. “Mitigating climate change requires a global response, including continued U.S. investment in international development and diplomacy with a strong International Affairs Budget. Continued U.S. leadership, with bold action and bipartisan cooperation, is urgently needed to combat the impacts of climate change both here at home and around the world.”

City of Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards, President & CEO of the Tacoma-Pierce Chamber of Commerce Andrea Reay, and Allan Belton, President of Pacific Lutheran University also gave remarks during the lively conversation on the importance of U.S. leadership in climate security issues. The USGLC welcomed members from across the political, NGO, business, military, and faith-based communities in Washington for this bipartisan forum.

In speaking to the national security issues related to climate change, Lt. Gen. John Regni stated, “Military leaders have been sounding the alarm on the national security challenges presented by climate change. Climate-related disasters and disruptions are causing security issues all over the world. Today’s threats know no borders, especially as food and water shortages can lead to conflict that impacts American interests. Investing in diplomacy and development for climate change solutions is investing in global stability and a safer, more prosperous America.”

America’s investments in diplomacy and development globally benefit Washington locally. Last year, nearly 1 million jobs in Washington were supported by international trade. Of the more than 11,000 Washington businesses that export goods, 89 percent are small or medium-sized businesses. Through thousands of local businesses and hundreds of thousands of jobs, Washington families are benefiting from America’s leadership on the global stage.

“Washington understands how critical U.S. development and diplomacy is to addressing climate change,” said Alex Grant, USGLC National Outreach Director. “We welcome Representative Kilmer’s leadership in safeguarding the economic, health, and security interests of Washingtonians in the face of climate security threats. Leading globally truly matters locally, and we’re fortunate to see Washington leaders dedicated to advancing U.S. leadership on the global stage.”

For the full discussion, watch the event here.


The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition ( 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.