April 3, 2019

Senator Levin, Governor Snyder and Hendrik Meijer Lead Michigan Effort to Strengthen U.S. Leadership Overseas

Senators Stabenow and Peters lend support to U.S. Global Leadership Coalition’s expanding network in Michigan

DETROIT – Michigan’s top business, military, non-profit, faith and community leaders have joined together to highlight the importance of American engagement overseas by launching the Michigan Advisory Committee of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. The new and growing leadership group underscores Michigan’s commitment to development and diplomacy and emphasizes the importance of investing in America’s International Affairs Budget.

Former Senator Carl Levin, along with former Governor Rick Snyder and Hendrik Meijer, CEO of Meijer Inc. are the bi-partisan co-chairs of the new Advisory Committee that now boasts more than 80 leaders in the state including former Governor Jennifer Granholm, former Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham, former Congressman Mike Rogers, and former Congressman, now Bay County Executive Jim Barcia.

“I am honored to help lead the U. S. Global Leadership Coalition’s expansion in Michigan and I am thrilled to see this impressive group of Michiganders come together to support why America must be a global leader,” said former Senator Carl Levin. “Our state’s economy, security, and prosperity are linked to the rest of the world. And, if we want to create a better future for our children and communities, we must continue to be engaged overseas.”

“By investing in programs that fight poverty, promote stability, and wipe out diseases we’re not just saving lives but advancing America’s security and economic interests. That makes Michigan safer and stronger,” said former Governor Rick Snyder. “We’re fortunate to have a group of like-minded individuals on the USGLC’s Michigan Advisory Committee who are committed to fully funding America’s diplomacy and development programs.”

“I am pleased to be part of the USGLC coalition. Our state has long recognized that Michigan is safer and more prosperous locally when the United States leads globally,” said Meijer Chairman and CEO Hendrik Meijer. “As Michigan’s own Senator Vandenberg has declared: ‘politics stops at the water’s edge.’ I’m delighted to join with the USGLC as we take Vandenberg’s words to heart and continue this bipartisan work to support America’s engagement with the world.”

In addition to building economic prosperity, U.S. foreign assistance is a critical tool to protect America’s national security by countering violent extremism, promoting global stability, and preventing conflict before it occurs.

“Given the challenges we face abroad, our nation’s civilian programs overseas are more critical than ever,” said Senator Debbie Stabenow. “I’m proud to see a bipartisan group of Michigan leaders come together in support of our interests overseas.”

Last year, Michigan exported more nearly $60 billion in goods to foreign markets, and trade supported nearly a fifth of Michigan’s jobs, making U.S. international engagement a strategic issue for the community.

“It is critical that we strengthen diplomacy and development programs to address the serious challenges we face on the global stage,” said Senator Gary Peters. “The Michigan Advisory Committee will bring together our state’s leaders to reiterate how a robust diplomatic effort can strengthen our national security and open opportunities for Michigan businesses. I look forward to working with the Committee in the future.”

On Thursday, April 18 the USGLC will kick off its first Michigan event by hosting Representative Fred Upton for a lunch forum to discuss why leading globally matters for Michigan. With our economic security increasingly linked to the global marketplace and emerging threats like ISIS and global pandemics, this discussion could not come at a more critical time.

“The USGLC is honored to have the support and enthusiasm of so many distinguished Michiganders who understand that our engagement in the world is good for Americans and good for Michigan,” said Liz Schrayer, President and CEO of the USGLC. “We’re excited about having Michigan join our ranks, and look forward to a great discussion with Representative Upton and other leaders in Kalamazoo.”

America’s development and diplomacy programs comprise just one percent of federal spending, and include diplomatic relations, security assistance to allies and strategic partners, trade and economic relations, health clinics and schools in the developing world, and humanitarian relief efforts.

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.