60+ Women State Legislators call on Congress to Invest in the American People over Weapons and War

Updated: Jul 8

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Women Legislators’ Lobby (WiLL), a program of Women’s Action for New Directions, sent a letter to the U.S Congress calling for a 10 percent cut to the Pentagon budget, a pause in funding for nuclear weapons systems upgrades, and terminating wasteful defense contracts that finance redundant construction projects and produce surplus military equipment and weapons. The letter was signed by 61 state legislators from 31 states.


Rikkia Ramsey, WiLL Director, released the following statement:

“Time and again, we see that women legislators put more funds back into their districts and champion social programs that benefit local communities. They know that all the tanks, faulty F35s, and nuclear weapons in the world won’t keep their districts safe from COVID19, put food on the table, help them pay rent, or find a job with a livable wage. These are the things that everyday Americans care about. So, Congress should too.”


Ohio Representative Catherine Ingram

“The best defense for our country is creating good educational opportunities, affordable housing, and incarceration restructuring and reform for Ohioans of all income levels, especially those at the lowest. We must not lose sight of the real-world defense our country needs.”


Rhode Island Senator Meghan Kallman

"Housing is a human right. As eviction moratoriums expire, too many Rhode Islanders will be on the brink of homelessness. Compounded with urban warming, it is a recipe for disaster. We need affordable housing and green jobs to create safe and stable communities in Rhode Island.”


Hawaii Representative Amy Perusso

"Making smart reductions to the Pentagon budget now will help make the lives of Hawaii community members safer in the long run. Hawai’i has been hit hard by the COVID19 pandemic, and we are asking Congress to focus on creating jobs, improving infrastructure, building good education for all students, and addressing climate change—not funding new, unnecessary weapons."


Montana Representative Andrea Olsen

“A strong economy paired with economically secure people is what creates a strong nation. And a strong nation is not easily attacked. To truly secure the American people, Congress must commit to enacting policy that works towards economic justice for all.”



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To all U.S. Senators and Representatives: As you work on the upcoming appropriations decisions this year, we, the undersigned women state legislators, ask you to consider the profound impact these decisions will have on our ability to balance state budgets, meet the needs of our residents, and invest in future generations.

To rebuild America from the devastation of the COVID-19 crisis, we need to rethink how we define security. For too long, Congress has allocated half of our discretionary tax dollars to the Pentagon. Yet this spending did not prevent the spread of this deadly pandemic, protect our frontline workers from dying, or stop a massive recession. And women, in particular, bear the brunt of the economic downturn compounded by the lack of social safety net. As a nation that prides itself on its global leadership, the past year has been eye-opening and disheartening.


That’s why we are urging you to shift our spending priorities away from weapons and war fighting and towards investments in our country’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. It’s time to show the world new leadership that focuses on building the well-being of our people, not the war machine.


We are asking you to:

  • Pause funding for nuclear weapon systems upgrades

  • Decrease topline defense spending by 10%

  • Terminate wasteful defense contracts that finance redundant construction projects and produce surplus military equipment and weapons


For each unnecessary Pentagon project, there is an opportunity cost. For example, the price tag for dangerous new missile systems is $100 billion, which could instead pay 1.24 million elementary school teacher salaries for a year or cover 7.38 million four-year university scholarships. We encourage investments in programs that create economic power for all Americans. Federal investments in clean energy, education, and healthcare all create more jobs per dollar than funds put towards war-spending.


By reining in out of control Pentagon spending we can divert funds to prevent another deadly catastrophe, the climate crisis. The military is the largest institutional consumer of fossil fuels in the world and emits more greenhouse gasses than Portugal. For over 30 years, both parties have addressed climate change as the national security threat that it is.


Under the guise of patriotism and national security the Pentagon budget has grown unchecked for decades, enriching defense contractors while leaving the American people unprotected against daily threats and indignities. Despite a long history of waste, fraud, and failed audits, its budget has been increased every single year. Many American families have had to tighten their belts and learn to live with less this year, it is time for the Pentagon to do the same.


Sincerely,

The Undersigned State Legislators

Alaska Senator Elvi Gray-Jackson

Colorado Representative Yadira Caraveo

Representative Lisa Cutter

Representative Cathy Kipp


Connecticut Senator Marilyn Moore


Florida Representative Angie Nixon


Georgia Senator Nan Grogan Orrock Representative Becky Evans

Representative Kim Schofield


Hawaii Representative Amy Perruso

Representative Tina Wildberger


Illinois

Representative Carol Ammons

Representative Robyn Gabel

Representative Rita Mayfield

Representative Joyce Mason


Indiana Representative Patricia Boy


Iowa Representative Marti Anderson


Kansas Senator Pat Pettey


Maine Representative Valli Geiger

Representative Amy Roeder

Representative Maureen Terry


Maryland Delegate Pamela Queen

Delegate Sheila Ruth

Delegate Julie Palakovich Carr

Delegate Nicole Williams


Massachusetts Representative Mindy Domb

Representative Natalie Higgins

Representative Lindsay Sabadosa


Minnesota Senator Jennifer McEwen

Representative Rena Moran

Missouri Representative Ingrid Burnett

Montana Representative Mary Ann Dunwell

Representative Andrea Olsen

New Hampshire Representative Heidi Hamer

Representative Nicole Klein Knight

Representative Lee Oxenham

Representative Ellen Read

New Mexico

Senator Mimi Stewart Representative Deborah Armstrong

Representative Debbie Sarinana

New York Senator Alessandra Biaggi

North Dakota Representative Mary Schneider

Ohio Representative Catherine Ingram

Oregon Representative Dacia Grayber

Rhode Island Senator Kendra Anderson

Senator Meghan Kellman


South Carolina Representative Annie McDaniel

Tennessee Senator Heidi Campbell

Texas Representative Toni Rose

Utah Senator Jani Iwamoto

Representative Elizabeth Weight


Vermont Representative Sara Coffey

Representative Kimberly Jessup

Representative Robin Scheu


Washington

Senator Patty Kuderer

Representative Sharon Shewmake

West Virginia

Delegate Barbara Fleischauer

Wisconsin Senator Kelda Roys

Senator Lena Taylor

Representative Lisa Subeck