Note: A media advisory should be sent out 3-4 days prior to a council vote / rally / press conference and then again early on the morning of the event. If possible, follow up with the media outlets over the phone 2-3 hours after sending the email. This personalizes the process and makes your organization seem more professional.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: [date]
CONTACT: [Media Liaison name, phone, email]
The [city name] City Council Votes on Military Spending Resolution in Solidarity with National Resolutions Week.
WHAT: The [city name] city council will be voting on a local resolution calling for a reduction and redirection of military spending back into local communities. Following the vote will be a rally / press conference.
The [city name] city council is joining a national week of action during the 11 year anniversary of the start of the Afghan War. Our efforts in the first week of October contribute to similar resolutions already passed in cities like Philadelphia, Hartford, CT, and Los Angeles, CA. A similar resolution was also passed by the National Mayors Conference.
WHEN: [time, date]
WHERE: [address, directions]
WHO: The event is organized by National Priorities Project, Code Pink, Vets for Peace, (and any other local groups contributing).
Information about the national resolutions campaign on military spending can be found at: http://newprioritiesnetwork.org/resolutionsweek
Note: A press release should be sent out immediately after a council vote, and at the very least, the same day. Press releases are particularly important for media that did not attend the council meeting / press conference / rally. If you include a good-quality photo and caption, including names of city councilors and your main leaders, that increases the chance that the media contact will run an article about the resolution.
Contact: [media liaison name] FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
[CITY NAME] CITY COUNCIL PASSES RESOLUTION CALLING FOR A REDUCTION AND REDIRECTION OF MILITARY SPENDING.
(subtitle in lower case) Our city joins the “National Resolutions Week” on military spending.
On October______, the ________city council discussed how federal budgetary decisions impact local communities. Prior to their unanimous vote in favor of the resolution, city council member ________mentioned how federal cuts to the Housing and Human Development (HUD) resulted in our city losing Community Development Block Program. Council member _________, during the press conference said:
- People are starting to realize that we cannot spend trillions on war without making damaging cuts at the local level. Federal cuts in the HUD program has forced us to make cuts in our own city council budget. We are underfunded in our home energy efficiency programs, support for small businesses, and efforts to prevent home foreclosures. We need to reduce and redirect military spending back to our local communities.
Today’s event was organized by members of [name a few local and national organizations]. Also in attendance were members of the faith community, labor unions, and several state legislators also voiced their support. State Senator ____________ even mentioned his/her willingness to introduce a similar resolution at the State Capitol within the next few months. Following the press conference, members of the audience enthusiastically chatted among one another about other nearby cities where they will attempt to pass a similar resolution.
Today’s local victory contributes to an ongoing list of similar wins. For instance, in June, 2011, the National Mayors Conference passed a similar resolution. Also in June, 2011, the The Delaware Valley New Priorities Network passed a city council resolution in Philadelphia. “This is only the beginning,” said event organizer ______.”
For more information or to schedule an interview with event leaders, organizers, or speakers, please contact ______________at [phone, email].
Military Spending Resolutions
Note: We are offering three sample military spending resolutions. Your group should research the Cost of War website for numbers related to your own area. This will help you write “whereas” clauses specific to your area. Also be aware that your draft resolution will be revised / added to by your city council members / the city attorney.
1.) Philadelphia City Council Resolution
RESOLUTION: Calling on Congress and the President to Redirect Military Spending to Domestic Priorities
WHEREAS, the severity of the ongoing economic crisis has created budget shortfalls at all levels of government and requires us to re-examine our national spending priorities; and in Philadelphia there is a current funding gap of $60 million which will grow to $269 million next year, causing layoffs, cutbacks and continued destruction of the public education system; and the City of Philadelphia will have a budget shortfall of $2 billion over the next five years; and
WHEREAS, every dollar spent on the military produces fewer jobs than spending the same dollar on education, healthcare, clean energy, or even tax cuts for household consumption; and the current unemployment rate in Philadelphia is 10.9% (68,500 people); the current Black unemployment rate is 15.8%; and the current Hispanic unemployment rate is 11%; and
WHEREAS, U.S. military spending has approximately doubled in the past decade, in real dollars and as a percentage of federal discretionary spending, and well over half of federal discretionary spending is now spent on the military, and we are spending more money on the military now than during the Cold War, the Vietnam War, or the Korean War; and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cost Philadelphia taxpayers since 2001 well over $5 billion dollars; and
WHEREAS, the U.S. military budget could be cut by 80% and remain the largest in the world; and
WHEREAS, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform proposed major reductions in military spending in both its Co-Chairs’ proposal in November 2010 and its final report in December 2010; and the U.S. Conference of Mayors passed a resolution in June 2011 calling on Congress to redirect spending to domestic priorities; and the people of the United States, in numerous opinion polls, favor redirecting spending to domestic priorities and withdrawing the U.S. military from Afghanistan; and
WHEREAS, the United States has armed forces stationed at approximately 1,000 foreign bases in approximately 150 foreign countries; and
WHEREAS, the United States is the wealthiest nation on earth but trails many other nations in life expectancy, infant mortality, education level, housing, and environmental sustainability, as well as non-military aid to foreign nations; and there are 137,000 people without health care insurance in Philadelphia; and the crime index in Philadelphia is 9/100 (meaning the City is safer than only 9% of cities in the U.S.); and in 2010 more than one third of children in Philadelphia lived in poverty; and hunger is becoming increasingly serious (for example, in 2009-10, in the First congressional District, 49.6% of people reported a food hardship and in the Second Congressional District a food hardship of 36.6% was reported); and in 2010, 411,000 people in Philadelphia received some type of help from a food pantry; and in Philadelphia 1,640 veterans used homeless mainstream services in 2011 and there are approximately 370 veterans homeless on any given night;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the City Council of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, calls on the U.S. Congress to bring all U.S. troops home from Afghanistan, to take the funds saved by that action and by significantly cutting the Pentagon budget, and to use that money to fund education, public and private sector family-sustaining job creation, special protections for military sector workers, environmental and infrastructure restoration, care for veterans and their families, and human services that our cities and states so desperately need.
2.) Code Pink’s “Bring the War $ Home” Resolution
Bring Our War Dollars Home Resolution
A RESOLUTION EXPRESSING THE [YOUR CITY] CITY COUNCIL’S PREFERENCE THAT MISDIRECTED FUNDS TO CONTINUE THE WARS IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN BE REDIRECTED TO DOMESTIC PRIORITIES, INCLUDING PRESSING NEEDS IN THE CITY OF [YOUR CITY]
Whereas: the severity of the ongoing economic crisis in our nation requires that the government of the United States use its financial resources to rebuild our society: aid state and local government in maintaining and restoring public services, social and programs, including education, health care, the social safety net and public safety, support environmental clean-up and alternative energy programs,
rebuild our physical infrastructure, and take urgent measures to support job creation in both the private and public sectors;
Whereas: the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been a consequence of a misguided foreign policy, using borrowed money and force of arms as a substitute for diplomatic engagement, resulting in the death or the devastating disability of thousands of US military personnel and uncounted Iraqi and Afghan civilians, severe physical destruction and environmental degradation to those countries, increased security threats to the United States, and contributing to the deterioration of the American economy;
Whereas: the military budget, now totaling more than $700 billion per year, is far in excess of that necessary to maintain a reasonable level of security for the United States and its allies;
Be it Resolved:
1. That Congress should fund only the safe and orderly withdrawal of US troops and contractors from Iraq and Afghanistan, with the efforts to rebuild those countries channeled through international organizations.
2. That the military budget be substantially reduced in accord with plans such as those proposed by the Sustainable Defense Task Force, which amount to more than $1trillion over the next decade without impairing national security.
3. That these recovered resources, together with stimulus financing by the federal government, be used to meet vital human needs, promote job creation, fund government services, rebuild our infrastructure, aid state and local governments, and develop a new economy based upon renewable energy, and put our nation on an environmentally sustainable path in the 21st Century.
3.) Minnesota Arms Spending Alternatives Project (MN ASAP) Resolution
Whereas in 2011 Minnesota government was shut down over disputes as to how to address a $5 billion two-year budget shortfall; and
Whereas many small towns, cities and rural communities in Minnesota are managing austerity budgets, laying off police, firefighters, and teachers, and cutting essential services in response to cuts in state aid and/or federal cuts to Community Development Block Grants ; and,
Whereas Minnesota taxpayer spending for war far exceeds the state’s budget deficits with Minnesotans having spent nearly $5 billion to fund the Iraq and Afghan wars in 2011 alone, bringing total Minnesota taxpayer spending for these wars to more than $38.5 billion; and,
Whereas in addition to these costly wars Minnesota tax payers are spending more than $16 billion in 2012 for our share of the base Pentagon budget, a budget that increased from $290.5 billion to $526 billion between 2000 and 2011; and,
Whereas in 2012 59 cents of every dollar of federal discretionary spending is funding military purposes; and,
Whereas the budget for veterans is separate from the military budget we seek to cut, and our nation has a responsibility to provide veterans with quality medical care and other support, including opportunities for meaningful jobs; and,
Whereas renowned economist Jeffrey Sachs says that significant cuts in military spending are keys to economic recovery and resolving the nation’s debt issues; and,
Whereas our nation desperately needs to better balance its approach to national security to include the economic, social, and environmental needs of our communities, state, and nation;
**Local groups can add their own whereas statement here:
Therefore be it resolved that we, *______________________________ call on Senators Klobuchar and Franken, and Representatives Walz, Kline, Paulsen, McCollum, Ellison, Bachmann, Peterson and Cravaack as well as President Barack Obama, to shift federal funding priorities from war and the interests of the few, to meeting the essential needs of us all.
Approved ______________________________________ _________________________
If the resolution passes, we will include your city council in our growing list of groups endorsing this resolution:
We will communicate your council’s vote to President Barak Obama and to Congressional Representatives in your district. Please inform us when the council puts this or a similar resolution on the meeting agenda. We can be reached at: email@example.com
 Jeffrey D. Sachs, The Price of Civilization: Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity, New York, Random House, 2011, 188-89. Sachs says the United States needs to cut the base Pentagon budget by at least 50 percent by 2015.