May 3, 2023
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – At a conversation today with Oklahoma leaders, hosted by the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC), U.S. Representative Tom Cole (R-OK-04) spoke out on how U.S. engagement around the world matters locally to Oklahoma communities. Rep. Cole was joined by Lieutenant General Anthony J. Rock, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), and Matt Hangen, CEO and President, Water4, for a discussion on how American leadership in the world helps Oklahoma’s economy and families.
“From strategic competition with China to Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine, the U.S. faces significant threats impacting global stability and American stability,” said Rep. Cole. “Investing in development and diplomacy is a crucial component of our nation’s national security toolkit and showcases the very best of American values to the world.”
Also speaking about why U.S. leadership globally matters locally were: Pam Pollard, Chief Financial Officer, National Federation of Republican Women; Joseph Dorman, CEO, Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy; Muhammet Sezer, Executive Director, The Dialogue Institute; and Amy Loftis-Walton, Deputy Director of Business Development, Oklahoma Department of Commerce. The conversation, hosted by USGLC, brought together business, non-profit, veteran, faith, and community leaders from Oklahoma City and the wider region.
Predicting that access to water could lead to more conflict, Lieutenant General Rock spoke to the importance of development and diplomacy leading to more security saying, “I am a big believer that there’s a high likelihood that in the very near future conflict will be based on access to water… You can do without a lot of things, but you can’t do without water. So, making sure that the NGOs are able to work in a stable and secure environment comes back to having the right influence with the host nation, so that they make policy choices that promote a stable and secure environment…”
Speaking on the role of water security in strengthening global stability, Matt Hangen, CEO and President, Water4, said, “The water crisis is the most pressing problem that people face on a day-to-day level, inside communities. It’s a problem depending on how you slice it, anywhere from a third to two- thirds of the globe faces whether you’re talking about access to water at all or access to clean water… Essentially you can’t make any economic growth, you can’t move economically, until you have access to water and access to safe water…”
With more than $6.2 billion in global exports from Oklahoma in 2021, America’s investments in diplomacy and development benefit Oklahoma locally. Last year, over 436,000 jobs in Oklahoma were supported by international trade. Of the nearly 3,000 Oklahoma businesses that export goods, 84 percent are small or medium-sized businesses.
“Oklahomans understand how critical strategic investments in development and diplomacy are when it comes to safeguarding our economic and national security interests, and promoting America’s values,” said Alex Grant, USGLC National Outreach Director. “Representative Cole understands that leading globally matters locally to families and communities across Oklahoma. We welcome his continued leadership and support for global diplomacy and democracy initiatives around the world. We’re fortunate to see so many Oklahoma leaders dedicated to advancing America’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.