I will never forget the first time I walked into Second Force Reconnaissance Company’s Headquarters, at Camp Lejeune, NC. It held a memorial to some of the 241 U.S. service personnel killed by Iranian terrorists in Beirut, Lebanon in 1983. The inscription read,“They Came in Peace.” Shockingly, only a few months later in Iraq my unit confronted Iranian funded agitators, spies, and anti-American protesters. Consistently, Iran has declared itself a hostile enemy of the United States, our ally Israel, and freedom across the world.
While most foreign policy issues fall under federal jurisdiction, there are instances in which Texas finds itself in a unique position to engage and show support for our allies. In 2013, I worked with then-Senator, now-Lieutenant Governor, Dan Patrick to pass Senate Bill 200 that included my amendment to divest state pension funds from companies doing business with Iran or Sudan. SB 200 has both tangible and symbolic significance. To date, over $9 million taxpayer dollars have been divested from Iran. It also served as sign of Texas' commitment to an American foreign policy rooted in unwavering support for Israel. The American-Israeli partnership is an essential component to our national security strategy, and we must signal to the world that there is no daylight between our nations.
I am very proud of Governor Greg Abbott’s leadership on this important matter. When Secretary Kerry's negotiations on the Iran deal were released, I wrote Governor Abbott about my concern that Washington may try to undue the divestment created by my amendment (you can read my full letter by clicking here). Governor Abbott has led in every sense of the word: directing state entities addressed by my amendment to remain divested and recently visiting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to further solidify our relationship. I look forward to working with Governor Abbott to strengthen our divestment policies during the next legislative session.
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