Florida Officials Talk Security through Diversity

 Florida’s mayors, state legislatures, community leaders and other elected officials met Thursday evening in the City Hall to discuss international development fostering a good national security policy.

America’s security relies on the stability that only international development-sometimes called “foreign aid”-can provide.

Around the country, on television, in print and online, Make US Strong tells Congress that international development keeps us safe and makes America great.

Tallahassee Mayor John Marks said: “We are already implementing the program in Tallahassee in a way. We have social city relationships with about six cities internationally and we often correspond to see what we can do.”

Marks continued, “By doing these kinds of things, we are trying to develop, help them develop or they can help us develop as well. That’s what international development can do and what we’re trying to do.”

Marks said students could get involved by getting to know foreign students at their universities.

“Find out your friends who are from India, Africa, Turkey or whatever, and relate to them, and then you will be able to understand what they need, what we can do and how we can help each other,” he said.

Janessa Goldbeck, the spokesperson for the Make US Strong campaign who has been bicycling solo across America on a three-month, 4,200-mile bicycle tour, stopped in Tallahassee to speak about how international development is vital to America’s security and prosperity.

“The big goal of the campaign is to get the message out.

Development makes our country safer,” said Goldbeck.

Goldbeck said a budget recently passed in the House of Representatives slashes funding for critical programs like international development.

“People need to pick up their phones or email their members of Congress and let them know that that’s not okay; that it’s a dangerous move and that they want their elected official to fund international development,” said Goldbeck.

She continued, “Congress has slated funding because it’s a cheap political point. It sounds good to say ‘Let’s spend all the money we have here at home.'”

Goldbeck also said, “If we pretend that problems don’t exist, they are going to get bigger and they’re eventually going to land on our shorts.”

Rick Minor, chief of staff for Marks, said, “Investing a little bit in international development overseas is much cheaper than sending soldiers abroad and dealing with the aftermath of terrorist attacks.”

Although development efforts are less than 1 percent of the budget, they save billions of dollars by preventing future conflicts, according to Make US Strong advocates.

For more information, visit makeusstrong.com to learn seven ways international development makes the country secure.