Community Editorials Letters to the Editor

Guest editorial: What happens globally affects families locally

Posted on March 22nd, 2023 By: Heather Maher

Heather Maher

Heather Maher is a local Gig Harbor mom and resident for the past 14 years. She is also a member of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition’s NextGen class of 2023.



I’ll never forget March 2020. As our kids were sent home from school, I watched as teachers wiped away tears, waving goodbye to their students. The pandemic that had once seemed so far away had made its way to our little harbor town.

Two years later, our hearts were breaking over the Ukraine crisis. One night as I was putting my second-grade son to bed, he asked, “Mommy, is World War III happening?” I was shocked. His friends had mentioned it at school. Suddenly I was talking to my son about war.

As much as I try protect my kids, there’s no denying that what happens globally affects families locally. Now more than ever, I realize the importance of foreign assistance and how crucial America’s role is in the world. By investing in foreign assistance, our national security is protected, our economy is boosted through international trade, and lives at home and abroad are saved.

Yet only 1% of our federal budget is dedicated to foreign assistance, according to the nonprofit U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. A surprising percentage, since roughly 20% of Washington state jobs in 2019 were directly supported by trade, also according to the USGLC.

And, within the past 25 years, global poverty has been halved through American assistance. As former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice states: “International development is a vital investment in the free, prosperous, and peaceful international order that fundamentally serves our interests.”

For me, it comes down to this: “What kind of world do I want my kids to live in?” I want my children to live in a place that values democracy, diplomacy, development, and defense.

We cannot turn a blind eye to the issues in our world. As we have experienced the past 3 years, global issues WILL affect us here at home in Gig Harbor. I urge our congressional leaders to support robust funding for the International Affairs Budget. The livelihoods of your constituents depend on it.”

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