National security will be a heavy part of your Congressman's workload in the months and years ahead. Our world has changed since September 11, and the dangers are still with us. We now have Minnesota National Guard troops, as well as other Minnesotans, serving in our nation's armed forces deployed in and around Afghanistan. And there may be more U.S. military action to come. This District deserves an experienced voice on these issues in the United States House of Representatives, and my 14 years of experience in national security means that I can be that voice.
I have worked in public service for my entire professional life, on global issues relating to enhancing our national defense, reducing the risk of nuclear war, preventing the spread of nuclear arms to non-nuclear weapons states or terrorist groups, and reducing global tensions, in particular, between the United States and Russia. This work is directly related to the security of our people and our communities in Minnesota.
During the Reagan and Bush Sr. Administrations, I worked on treaties and agreements that reduced the threat of nuclear war and dramatically lowered tensions between the United States and then-Soviet Union. These agreements also helped to facilitate the end of the Cold War and to open up opportunities for trade and investment in the former Eastern block states and Russia. During the Clinton Administration, I was the principal National Security Council staff member responsible for negotiating the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which banned all nuclear tests worldwide, an objective widely shared by the vast majority of Minnesotans.
We need to have the right combination of tools at home and abroad to prevent further terrorist attacks, pre-empt the terror network, punish those responsible for past and any future attacks, and strengthen homeland security, including our public health system. Congress must be vigilant to ensure that our intelligence and law enforcement agencies, our military and our State Department are equipped to make the fight against terror their number one priority.
Congress must also ensure we take on the job of draining the swamps of poverty, despair and injustice overseas that create conditions that are exploited by and provide shelter to terrorists. And Congress must be vigilant to protect the rights guaranteed to all Americans by our Constitution.
Finally, Congress should not fear a discussion and debate regarding next steps in the war on terror. This is the essence of our democracy.
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