August 14, 2017
Albuquerque – U.S. Senator Tom Udall, General Victor “Gene” Renuart, and Carrie Hessler-Radelet, President & CEO of Project Concern International, joined over two hundred New Mexico leaders today at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition’s (USGLC) inaugural event in Albuquerque for a bipartisan conversation on the importance of investing in American diplomacy and development. As the Administration eyes drastic cuts to the State Department and U.S. foreign assistance, New Mexico’s top business, military, non-profit, and community leaders came together in a strong show of support for a fully funded International Affairs Budget.“Defending our national security doesn’t just require a strong military, we need to use every tool we have to prevent future wars by promoting stability in weak states, combating weapons proliferation and alleviating poverty and hunger,” Senator Tom Udall said. “For a tiny fraction of the federal budget, investments in our diplomatic and development programs pay dividends — for our nation and for New Mexico. Not only do these investments support our service members and help strengthen our security around the world, they create opportunities for New Mexico businesses abroad and good jobs at home. The strong bipartisan interest in today’s meeting shows that New Mexicans share this commitment to our civilian diplomacy and development programs and believe these investments are invaluable today and for our future.”
“With complex threats facing our country, we need a comprehensive national security strategy that emphasizes diplomacy and development alongside a strong defense,” said General Gene Renuart (Ret). “Whether stabilizing volatile regions and helping to avoid the need for military intervention, or maintaining our military’s hard-earned gains long after our troops return home, our civilian partners are essential to achieving our security objectives.”
“We are in a humanitarian crisis— 20 million people are at risk of starvation from famine, and another 65 million have been forced to flee their homes due to violence. As we work to save lives and head off further catastrophe, it is encouraging to see this group of engaged, compassionate citizens here today who understand that now is the time to double down on U.S. investments in foreign assistance,” said Carrie Hessler-Radelet, President & CEO of Project Concern International.
“The one percent of our federal budget that funds our nation’s diplomatic and development programs generates an incredible return on investment for the taxpayer— elevating both our economy and our national security,” said Carey Campbell, Director of Outreach for the USGLC. “New Mexicans are fortunate to have Senator Udall in Washington, because he understands that with so much at stake, the U.S. can’t afford to scale back resources for these vital programs.”
New Mexico exports more than $3.5 billion in goods to foreign markets a year and international trade supports over 218,000 local jobs, making American engagement abroad a strategic economic issue for the state.
The USGLC launched its New Mexico Advisory Committee in July. The new leadership group has already brought together more than 50 state and local leaders in support of a strong International Affairs Budget.
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.