May 8, 2023
MOBILE, AL – At a recent conversation with Alabama leaders, hosted by the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC), U.S. Representative Jerry Carl (R-AL-01) spoke out on how U.S. engagement around the world matters locally to Alabama communities. Rep. Carl was joined by Vice Admiral Michael Dumont, U.S. Navy (Ret.), and John Merrill, former Alabama Secretary of State, for a discussion on how American leadership in the world helps Alabama’s economy and families.
“We have to lead. We are the big brother on the playground and the ones that stand between the bullies and those that need help. That’s our job on the world stage and we should be very proud of that,” said Rep. Carl. “We step up when there are disasters and that’s our job. We as Americans are selling freedom and democracy, and the only way they can see that in other countries is through our actions right there on the ground.”
Speaking on the need for a delicate approach that competition from China poses, Rep. Carl says, “China is important to Mobile. If you don’t believe it, go out and look at that two-and-a-half million square feet of Walmart distribution center. I’d venture to say the majority of the products probably came from China. So, we’re going to handle it very delicate here when we deal with China. But we’ve also got to show China that we’re willing to stand up and defend our democracy in this economy.”
Also speaking about why U.S. leadership globally matters locally were: Sandy Stimpson, Mayor, City of Mobile, Alabama, and John Driscoll, CEO, Alabama Port Authority. The conversation, hosted by USGLC, brought together business, non-profit, veteran, faith, and community leaders from Mobile and the wider region.
Speaking on the importance of strategic U.S. investments in diplomacy and development and what’s it worth for America to lead, Vice Admiral Dumont said, “Since World War II, since the Marshall Plan, the United States has been sort of the standard bearer around the world for democracy, governance, stabilization, and humanitarian programs and it really speaks to America’s values. I think it’s important for us to continue having a leading role in the international sphere given our size given our wealth, given our influence, and given our history. And it’s something that requires continual investment.”
Former Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill spoke on how U.S. global leadership and engagement creates a more stable, and therefore, a more prosperous world, saying, “one of the things that successful businesspeople do is to try to continue to expand their footprint and their market share. The only way to do that—if you’re doing all you can locally and statewide and domestically—is to go internationally. We have so many businesses that want to have an opportunity to do that.”
With more than $20.9 billion in global exports from Alabama in 2021, America’s investments in diplomacy and development benefit Alabama locally. Last year, over 530,000 jobs in Alabama were supported by international trade. Of the over 4,100 Alabama businesses that export goods, 80 percent are small or medium-sized businesses.
“Alabama understands the importance of U.S. development and diplomacy when it comes to safeguarding our national security, advancing our economic interests, and promoting America’s values,” said Jeremy Tolbert, USGLC Deputy National Outreach Director. “We welcome the continued leadership of Representative Carl and his support for global diplomacy and democracy initiatives around the world. Leading globally matters locally to families and communities across Alabama and we’re fortunate to see so many Alabama 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 (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.