There’s little consensus among elected officials in our current political environment where divisive rhetoric and grandstanding are often the norm. Last week, in the Missouri House of Representatives, I was proud to sponsor HR 3658 and stand with my colleagues for Ukraine. United, Missouri House Republicans and Democrats stood against the aggression of Vladimir Putin and his violent, illegal, and immoral war passing this legislation 143-0.
The resolution embraces a comprehensive strategy, implores our congressional representatives and the president to strengthen financial sanctions and immediately support efforts to deter and defeat Russian aggression against any NATO member.
As a veteran of the War on Terror, including leading combat air patrols over New York following the attacks on 9-11, and a forward-deployed commanding officer with an extensive background in national security, I clearly understand why we must achieve peace through strength. But in this global environment, a comprehensive strategy must combine our military power with unifying diplomatic leadership and crippling economic sanctions. Other considerations must be made at the federal level to include energy independence, strengthening our export policies, formulating a coherent cyber security strategy, as well as a host of other military, economic, and diplomatic strategies. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is not about land, oil, or natural resources; it’s about reshaping the world order as a direct affront to freedom and self-determination as the greatest hopes of mankind.
It is no secret our two political parties frequently disagree on how to pursue and protect individual freedoms. Missourians however, are united in these efforts because Ukraine stands as an example to those who embrace freedom and a reminder of the sacrifice others have made to advance the cause of freedom. We are doing our part as we stand against Putin’s aggression.
Missouri office holders are taking action. Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick led an emergency meeting of the Missouri State Employees Retirement System (MOSERS) Board of Trustees to divest $13 million of existing Missouri investments in Russian equities and securities. House Majority Floor Leader Dean Plocher is leading a separate legislative effort that targets Missouri business transactions with Russia by suspending Missouri state entities from contracting with Russia or any country that is attacking a NATO member as well as Ukraine, Finland, Sweden, or Georgia. Additionally, Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe, as the “Buy Missouri” advocate, has asked all Missouri retailers to remove Russian-made or Russian-branded products from store shelves and replace them with American-made, or if possible, Missouri-made products.
Russia was the United States’ 20th largest supplier of imported goods in 2019, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The cumulative effects of these efforts in our state directly impacts the Russian economy and sends a clear message that no Missouri dollars will be used to fund Putin’s war chest. Missouri will remain open for business to those who value freedom and self-determination.
In these critical times our hearts are with the proud people of Ukraine. Seventy-six years ago this month at Westminster College in Fulton, Winston Churchill spoke of the shadow of the iron curtain descending across the European continent, and of post-World War II America. Churchill stated, “With primacy in power is also joined an awe-inspiring accountability to the future.”
It is again a solemn moment, but the cause of freedom remains worth advancing. We, in Missouri, stand united.
Rep. Mike Haffner (R-Pleasant Hill) is a retired combat veteran having served in the U.S Navy as the Commanding Officer of an F/A-18 Hornet Squadron. Haffner represents HD 55 in Cass County.