The mission of the Friends Committee on Washington Public Policy is to express Quaker testimony and values in Washington State public affairs. Most frequently, this has meant that FCWPP has lobbied in Olympia for state legislation related to those concerns. But there are times when it is necessary to step into the national arena in order to address local concerns. This is one such time.
Many of the state programs FCWPP has championed in the past are at least partially dependent upon federal funding. In many cases, this dependency has increased in the face of state cutbacks. Now, in the context of record budget deficits and runaway federal debt, federal funding for many social services is threatened as well.
Only the military budget, already a full 57 percent of federal discretionary spending, has remained immune to the latest round of cuts, and in fact continues to grow. Both out of concern for the impact of the cuts on our state’s social safety net and in keeping with the Quaker Peace Testimony, FCWPP calls for immediate deep cuts in military spending, and encourages Friends to do the same using all of the tools in the Quaker toolkit, from laboring with leaders at every level of government – including the local level — to get them to speak out on this issue, to adopting formal minutes or epistles at Friends Meeting, as Port Townsend Friends Meeting recently did. To read the Port Townsend minute/epistle, click HERE.
Note that the Port Townsend minute goes beyond a general call for slashing military spending to specifically target the nuclear weapons programs and the Navy’s proposed enormous expansion of its Trident nuclear explosives handling wharf at Naval Base Kitsap Bangor on the Hood Canal, at a cost initially estimated at $750 million. Pointing to specific wasteful or needless projects in one’s own state and laboring with local public officials on such issues are far more effective than general calls to action.
Meetings are welcome to use all or any portion of the Port Townsend minute in crafting their own.
FCWPP Legislative Committee Member
Clerk of PTFM’s Peace & Social Concerns Committee