As noted in a recent letter to the editor, “Writing’s on the side of the road – Sen. King has formidable competition” (Sept. 7), this November’s U.S. Senate race may be closer than we expect. I, for one, would like to hear more from candidates Eric Brakey, Zak Ringelstein and incumbent Sen. Angus King about their views on U.S. leadership in the world. I think it matters locally – more than we think.

Globally, over 5 million children under the age of 5 die each year, more than half from causes we can prevent. Only 50 percent of refugee children attend primary school, and 152 million children are involved with child labor.

These problems seem like a world away, but they aren’t. As we’ve seen on our southern border, when problems affect places like Central America, the consequences don’t stay there. But proactive U.S. leadership – like investing in humanitarian relief and development – can help stabilize global economies and prevent crises before they happen. Most people believe that we spend about 25 percent of the federal budget on foreign assistance. In reality, we spend less than 1 percent, with a phenomenal return on that investment.

Local issues, understandably, tend to dominate our candidates’ talking points. It’s time to recognize the missing link of U.S. global leadership and the impact it can have for us, here at home.

Carol Smith