Adapt this letter for individual or group use for local elected officials. Current copy is 2011-relevant.

TO:

Members of the (your town) City Council and Mayor Bill Bell
Members of the (your county) County Commissioners
Members of the (your local) Public Schools Board

TO:

Representatives (Names of your NC General Assembly Reps and Senators)

CC:

(name) City Manager
(name) County Manager

We greet you with sincere appreciation for the labors of public service you have undertaken. As your constituents we bring to you our concerns regarding the values represented in the current budgeting process both at the state and federal levels.

As we write, the state General Assembly has just overridden the governor’s veto on the budget. The resulting cuts or elimination of jobs and vital services in education, health, environmental protection, and other areas will affect us all. Local government officials, along with faith communities, support agencies, and non-profits are struggling to fill the gap, trying to save the institutions and programs that are vital to a free society and a decent life for our citizens.

At the federal level, total military spending and wars consume over half the discretionary spending. This affects choices made in North Carolina. According to the National Priorities Project, North Carolina taxpayers’ share of the military budget in 2012 will be $15 Billion.

Taxpayers in (Durham’s 4th Congressional District have paid $3.6 billion) for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. The proposed FY 2011 cost of these wars, again JUST TO OUR DISTRICT, is ($478.6 million). With that huge sum we could have provided:

- 9,200 Elementary school teachers for one year –or-
- 86,226 Students with Pell grants of $5,550 –or-
- 88,901 Low-income people with healthcare for one year –or-
- 85,077 Scholarships for university students for one year –or-
- 68,807 Veterans with VA medical care for one year

(See http://nationalpriorities.org/tools/tradeoffs/)

The undersigned represent a broad range of your constituents who come together on the need to reset our priorities.

Will you join us in urging our leaders at the federal level, including 4th District U.S. Representative David Price, Senator Kay Hagan, Senator Richard Burr, and President Barak Obama, to support or introduce legislation that will bring the war dollars home and fund the needs of our district, state, and nation?

Specifically we ask you to (pass a resolution / send a letter to them) stating that our country can no longer sustain extravagant military spending at the expense of our vital domestic interests. We must bring an end to the war in Afghanistan/ Pakistan and the occupation of Iraq as soon as possible and we must reduce military spending. Enclosed is a draft resolution for your consideration and a brief summary of the trade offs for North Carolina of the war in Afghanistan.

We also ask that you attend a Town Hall Meeting with us and other community members to discuss the effect that war is having on (Durham and the 4th District.) The Meeting is scheduled for September 10 at 3:00. Details to follow.

We welcome your immediate response.

Respectfully,

Names of citizens and community leaders

* For identification purposes only.