May 5, 2020

Rep. Donna Shalala to Local Leaders: Global Health, Foreign Assistance Critical to Fighting Pandemic, Protecting Americans

Watch the full event here:

WASHINGTON, D.C. / MIAMI – Today, Rep. Donna Shalala (D-FL) joined Florida political, business, and community leaders in a virtual town hall to discuss the importance of American global health, diplomacy, and development programs to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and protect the health and safety of all Americans— in Florida and across the country.

“Extraordinary times call for extraordinary action, and as COVID-19 continues to spread across Florida, our country, and the world, the time for action is now. We need resources for the fight here at home and abroad, because we can’t stop this pandemic in the U.S. if it can still reach us from other countries,” said Congresswoman Donna Shalala (D-FL). “That’s why as both a lawmaker and concerned citizen, I support investments in our country’s global health and development programs. By helping others respond to this crisis, we’re helping save lives worldwide and protecting ourselves and our families from future outbreaks.”

The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) hosted today’s online event at a time when policy makers are considering our country’s response to the pandemic at home and abroad, including resources for the State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC).

“As we’ve seen with COVID-19, national security threats come in all shapes and sizes— and we can’t rely solely on our military to tackle them,” said Gen. Douglas Fraser, U.S. Air Force (ret). “We need to use all of our foreign policy tools— like our nation’s diplomats and development programs— to lead the charge and keep American safe. Their essential work will help us respond to this pandemic faster and more effectively.”

U.S. international engagement is crucial to deal with the pandemic, from a global health perspective as well as an economic one— an especially important matter in Florida, where over 2.3 million jobs in the state are tied to international trade and exports to foreign markets total more than $57 billion a year.

“Floridians are fortunate to have Congresswoman Shalala leading the charge to fight COVID-19 given her unparalleled expertise in global health,” said Liz Schrayer, USGLC President and CEO. “She brings great clarity that America’s role in the world and our investments in global health security not only save lives, but are essential to protecting America’s health, security and economic interests.”

Many of today’s participants are members of the USGLC’s Florida Advisory Committee, a strong and growing coalition that brings together more than 170 business, faith, non-profit, veteran, and political leaders who understand why American global leadership matters for Florida.

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.