August 21, 2019

Rep. Murphy to 150+ Central Florida Leaders: Diplomacy, Foreign Assistance Crucial to Florida’s Economy, U.S. National Security

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ORLANDO – Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) told more than 150 Central Florida business, veteran, and community leaders today that for Florida to succeed, America must invest in its role as a global leader–and that starts with American diplomacy and development programs.

“As a global hub for trade and tourism, Florida depends on strong global connections to support millions of jobs, open new markets for Florida businesses, and boost exports,” said Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy. “That’s one important reason why we need to continue to sustain and strengthen our alliances. I will continue pushing to fully fund diplomacy and development programs that help us forge the relationships needed to keep our nation safe and prosperous.”

The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) hosted today’s foreign policy forum at a time when policy makers are considering the next year’s federal budget, including resources for the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

“The United States has always set itself apart as a global leader, but that doesn’t just happen overnight. It’s the collective efforts of our civilian and military forces, working day in and day out around the world,” said Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, U.S. Army (ret.). “During my 37 years in the Army, I saw how integral our diplomats and development workers were – alongside our men and women in uniform – helping to foster stability around the world, while also keeping Americans safe back home.”

Nearly 2.2 million jobs in Florida are tied to international trade, and Florida’s exports to foreign markets total more than $55 billion a year – meaning U.S. international engagement isn’t just a matter of national security, it’s a strategic economic issue for the Sunshine State.

A strong and growing coalition in the state, the USGLC’s Florida Advisory Committee brings together more than 170 business, faith, non-profit, veteran, and political leaders who understand why American global leadership matters for Florida.

“As a former national security specialist, Congresswoman Murphy understands that investing in our civilian tools of development and diplomacy is a smart move for our national defense,” said Jason Gross, USGLC Executive Director. “I am confident that her continued support – alongside local leaders across Central Florida – of our programs overseas, will help ensure that the Sunshine State and America remain strong and prosperous.”

Also participating in today’s forum was the Honorable Dick Batchelor; Grant Cornwell, President of Rollins College; and Adam Babington, Vice President of External Affairs at Walt Disney World.

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.