KALAMAZOO – Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI) told more than 125 Kalamazoo business, veteran, and community leaders today that for Michigan to succeed, America must invest in its role as a global leader—and that starts with American diplomacy and development programs.
“America’s leadership around the globe provides real results for U.S. national security and economic growth,” said Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI). “Our diplomats and development personnel work in complex political environments to improve lives, lift up communities and keep our entire country safe. And when the world is safe and prosperous, the United States is safe and prosperous, so I’m committed to fighting for robust funding for our nation’s diplomacy and development programs.”
The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) hosted today’s foreign policy forum in the wake of the Administration’s latest budget proposal released last month, which called for a 24% cut to the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
“After more than 30 years in the U.S Air Force, I understand what makes the U.S. military the strongest in the world,” said Lt. Gen. John Campbell, U.S. Air Force (ret.). “But I also understand the real consequences of military intervention and know that it should only be used as the absolute last resort. Protecting our country and promoting peace and stability requires not just a strong military but a multi-faceted effort that also includes diplomacy and foreign assistance.”
Over 1 million jobs in Michigan are tied to international trade, and Michigan’s exports to foreign markets total more than $59.8 billion a year—meaning U.S. international engagement isn’t just a matter of national security, it’s a strategic economic issue for the Great Lakes State.
“For U.S. businesses, diplomacy and development break down export barriers in overseas markets and create valuable trading partnerships,” said Bill Lane, Executive Director, Trade for America. “In fact, many of our country’s top trading partners were once recipients of foreign assistance some 40 years ago. American global engagement not only helps to open up new markets in communities around the world, it also boosts the U.S. economy and provide jobs here at home.”
A strong and growing coalition in the state, the USGLC’s Michigan Advisory Committee brings together more than 60 business, faith, non-profit, veteran, and political leaders who understand why American global leadership matters for Michigan.
“America must continue to be a global leader,” said Hank Meijer, Executive Chairman of Meijer, Inc. “[We understand] how interconnected our prosperity and our security are with the rest of the world and that America is still, and always will be, the indispensable nation. At a time when our role in the world is being debated…not only in Washington but at kitchen tables across the country, the stakes have never been higher for America’s global leadership, and pulling back from that leadership, especially now, is a daunting prospect and not in our nation’s interests.”
“Michigan, with its long tradition of innovation and engagement with the world, is an ideal partner for USGLC,” said Liz Schrayer, President and CEO of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. “This is the first event we’re hosting in conjunction with our new Michigan Advisory Council, and we look forward to many, many more productive conversations about how our investment in global development and diplomacy is good for the United States—and Michigan.”
Also participating in today’s forum was Dr. Edward Montgomery, President of Western Michigan University; Jodi Michaels, Executive Director of Colleagues International; and Ron Kitchens, Senior Partner & CEO at Southwest Michigan First.
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.