Yesterday, I was with military families at Fairchild Air Force base for my 9th annual Military Family Summit.
In case you missed it in the Spokesman-Review:
“With more than 100 years of family members serving in the military, [Secretary of the VA] Wilkie appeared at Fairchild at the invitation of U.S Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who has been organizing the Family Military Summits since 2009.
“I’ve said before, in order for America to be a diplomatic power, it needs to be a military power,” McMorris Rodgers said. “In order to be a military power, it needs to be an economic power. It’s all connected. And the military families are the basis behind every part.”
CLICK HERE to read the full story in the Spokesman.
When someone joins the military, it’s not just a job–it’s a family commitment to our country. That’s why our focus at the Summit yesterday was on families serving at Fairchild and some of the most important issues they face.
More Job Opportunities for Military Spouses: Did you know that the unemployment rate among military spouses is historically higher when compared to the general population? With more than 7 million jobs available in America, more work needs to be done to help military spouses find a good-paying job, especially when they relocate.
Last year, I worked on a provision that is now law for spouses to be reimbursed for new licenses due to a move. For instance, if a military family is reassigned to Fairchild, and a husband or wife of a service member needs a nursing license in Washington state, they can be reimbursed for that cost up to $500. It’s just one way I’ve worked to knock down a barrier to employment that is unique to military families.
Building a Stronger Military: Families deserve every assurance that their loved ones serving in the military are safe and that they have the training and equipment they need to do their jobs. Unfortunately, our armed forces had been overstretched, undertrained and depleted. Our military was forced to do more with less. It created a readiness crisis that has jeopardized our troops’ lives and threatened our national security. That’s why, in addition to increasing troop pay with the largest increase in nearly a decade, we’ve kept our promise to rebuild the military.
- I supported legislation to fund the Pentagon for a full year — on time.
- I supported the largest year-to-year increase in military funding in 15 years, including $34 billion to support military families.
- I also helped secure 12 more tankers for Fairchild and worked to expedite their delivery. This squadron of tankers will make Fairchild the largest tanker base in the country will make our Air Force base a center of excellence.
Restoring Trust at the VA: In addition to providing our active-duty service members with the tools for success, I am also committed to making sure our nation’s heroes are cared for when they return home. That means restoring trust and accountability at the VA. In an effort to accomplish this goal:
- I supported legislation funding the VA with its largest dollar amount in history.
- I helped pass the VA MISSION Act, which consolidates the multiple community care programs we have in Eastern Washington, and extends the Choice Program.
- I led in advocating for the reopening of our 24-hour urgent care in Spokane.
- I am leading to make the Spokane VA a teaching hospital so doctors can go to medical school here in Spokane, train at the Spokane VA, and continue to serve our veterans in Eastern Washington.
Because of these efforts, I am proud to say our military and their families are Better Off Now. If you missed the summit and would like to learn more, please visit my Facebook page.