Dear friends:

On Feb. 24, upon Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the world became a significantly more dangerous place. It is hard to overstate the malicious recklessness with which Russian President Putin is acting. But if the history of WWII has taught us anything it is that we must confront international bullies early, before they become even more powerful and invade more nations.

I commend Gov. Inslee’s decision Monday to review the state’s procurement and other business activities with Russian state institutions and his support for businesses to pull their private-sector interests from Russia as well. I stand firmly beside him and encourage more people, businesses, and state governments to follow suit. For our part, my wife and I are undertaking a review to see if we have any Russian assets to divest from.

Vladimir Putin’s malicious, illegal, perilous and wholly unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine calls for a massive response on many levels, including disrupting the Russian economy. To do anything less is dangerous and would encourage Putin to push farther. A dictator’s expansionist aims never stop by lack of ambition, only by lack of ability. We all must support this rapidly growing, multi-pronged international effort to stop this madman.

My grandparents came to the United States as Jewish refugees from the Holocaust. Their experience taught me that we must help those who have been dispossessed by such inhuman aggression. Therefore I will support the recent budget amendment to earmark nearly $20 million in refugee aid for any Ukrainian refugees who might come to Washington. Some say we should take care of “our own” people first; my view is that we can walk and chew gum at the same time, and that Ukrainians have been part of “our” community in Washington state for decades.

It is humbling to witness the astounding heart, determination and resilience of the Ukrainian people as well as the courage and convictions of the thousands of Russian people who are pouring into the streets in protest of Putin’s inhuman war. We watch the dual plight of a people unable to avoid being savagely invaded and a people unable to stop their savage president from commencing that invasion.

I believe we need to have some historical perspective here. While life has not always been easy, we have been blessed to live in a world for 75 years of relative peace with a large decline in the ratio of deaths by war. As I mentioned, my grandparents on one side of my family were refugees from the Holocaust on one side, and my American born grandfather on the other side fought the Nazis in Europe. Their lives were defined in part by war in a way fewer members of subsequent generations have been. As we confront a changing geopolitical landscape and attempt to avoid some form of a third world war, we might face the need to make reasonable sacrifices for the greater good. In the short-term, as just one example, gas prices might rise as a result of sanctions. While this can pose a personal hardship, if sanctions enable us to achieve a cease-fire, it would be an understatement to say our temporary cost will have been well worth it.

It has been a hard couple of years for us all, myself included. But we have come out of this with our human decency mostly intact. But now, today, our shared human decency demands something else from us. It demands that we draw a clear line of right and wrong, enforce it, and stand with Ukraine until Putin is forced to end this high crime against humanity and is held responsible for what he has done.