by Cynthia Giesecke, Guest Contributor
Homefront Rising, a non-partisan initiative that encourages and trains military spouses to speak up and get involved in the political process through advocacy and public service, is organizing its annual seminar on May 10 in Washington, D.C. Military spouses will be gathering from across the country for a day of training and networking focused on building civic leadership skills.
During last year’s seminar, I attended several panels and listened to Jinyoung Englund, Washington State Senate candidate. One takeaway from her session was to get a seat at the table. Military spouses are great at solving problems, which is the best reason for them to run for public office. We are adept at identifying what exactly the community needs and building coalitions to solve those problems.
A few years ago, I was a constituent services representative for a member of Congress. I heard the concerns of constituents and thought about one day running for office myself. When my family moved to Washington, D.C., I heard about Homefront Rising. I decided to attend to find out more about it and the seminar exceeded my expectations. I met and connected with several of the Military Spouse JD Network spouses and learned more about their advocacy work on military spouse attorney state licensing.
I also heard from Rosemary Williams, former VA Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, who spoke about her path to appointment to office. Erin Miller (pictured above) from the Women Airforce Service Pilots spoke about her grassroots advocacy work to pass H.R. 4336 with Representative Martha McSally leading the fight in the House of Representatives to amend the law which granted Miller’s grandmother, Elaine Danforth Harmon, retroactive veteran’s status in 1977 so that she may be inurned at Arlington National Cemetery. Due to her campaign efforts, this bill was passed in under 11 weeks. This is the type of story that motivated me to continue my advocacy efforts and encouraged me to apply to sit on a military spouse council with the Military Officers Association of America and be part of a “Storm the Hill” annual event to speak on behalf of active duty, Reserve and National Guard service members and their families.
I highly recommend that military spouses attend this seminar to get inspired, encouraged and meet other military spouses that are interested in public service and/or advocating for military families.
You will leave with stories and a tribe that will understand your current struggles and perseverance that it takes to do this type of work, but also celebrate your successes and continue to lift you up.
Speakers this year include Tatiana Matta, a current candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, Kalish Morrow, a former candidate for Hanford City Council, and Meg O’Grady, Vice President for Military and Public Sector Solutions at Purdue University Global.
At the heart of Homefront Rising’s mission is the desire to empower members of the military community to make positive change. We have become adept at calling on Congress and our elected officials to demand that they meet the needs of those who serve. But we also need members of our own community among those making the important decisions that affect us all!
What: Homefront Rising 2018
When: Thursday, May 10 at 9 a.m.
Where: Jones Day, 51 Louisiana Ave, Washington, D.C.
Why: Because military spouse voices matter!
Cost: $80, includes breakfast, lunch, tuition, and event materials