Council for a Livable World Backs Merkley for U.S. Senate

Washington, D.C. - The Council for a Livable World, a non-partisan advocacy organization focused on reducing the threat of nuclear proliferation and international conflict, has endorsed Oregon House Speaker Jeff Merkley for U.S. Senate.

"Jeff is the kind of Senator Oregon needs - one who is sincere in his opposition to the Iraq war and dedicated to finding a workable solution," said former U.S. Senator Gary Hart (D-CO), a Council board member. "Jeff has long been a student of international affairs and has an impressive grasp on the politics and problems facing the Middle East. He is unwavering in his commitment to ending the fiasco in Iraq, and he understands that far more will be accomplished there through political means, not military force."

Merkley has laid out a five point path to stabilizing the situation in Iraq. Merkley has called for removing all combat troops starting right away; the elimination of permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq; engaging Iraq's neighbors in a diplomatic effort to secure the peace - particularly Turkey, Iran and Syria; removing all American contractors from the country and replacing them with Iraqi contractors; and directing our attention toward stronger engagement with the Iraqi Parliament and Courts.

"Jeff took a firm stand against this war from the very beginning. He made his voice heard then and he continues to speak out against it now. We need more of that in the U.S. Senate," Hart said.

Jeff became the first member of his family to attend college and earn his degree when he graduated from Stanford in International Affairs. Merkley then attended the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton, where he obtained his Masters Degree in Public Policy. In 1982, he was appointed a Presidential Management Fellow and worked in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. While serving as a Presidential Fellow, he focused his analytical talents on the critical problems of safeguarding American military technology, verifying arms treaties, and assisting the U.S. delegation to NATO. Following his work at the Pentagon, Merkley served Congress in the Congressional Budget Office analyzing programs and policies for strategic nuclear weapons.

The Council for a Livable World advocates reductions and the eventual elimination of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. It focuses on ending the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and finding non-military solutions to international conflict. The Council provides Senators and Members of Congress with sophisticated technical and scientific information with the goal of helping them make intelligent decisions about weapons of mass destruction, nuclear non-proliferation and other national security issues.

The Council for a Livable World, which also has a political action committee, was founded in 1962 by nuclear physicist Leo Szilard and other scientists who worked in the pioneer days of atomic weapons.