by Libby Jamison, Guest Contributor
The idea for Homefront Rising was hatched the day before the October 2014 government shutdown by 3 military spouses: Military Spouse JD Network founder Mary Reding, and Lauren Weiner and Donna Huneycutt, co-owners of Wittenberg Weiner Consulting, LLC (WWC) and founders of military spouse non-profit In Gear Career.
Sitting together in the Capitol Hill Marriott, all 3 women waited with bated breath for the decisions that were being made in a chamber just a few blocks away.
They realized that the decisions made in Washington, D.C., directly and uniquely impacted every aspect of a military spouse’s life, including:
- How much their service member would be paid
- What health care coverage would be provided for their family
- Whether their service member went to war
- Where in the world their family would be stationed
- What retirement benefits the service member would receive
- How much a spouse would be paid if their service member dies
They decided that it was imperative that military spouses not only understand the political process, but also engage with it as advocates and leaders.
From that conversation came Homefront Rising, a non-partisan initiative dedicated to encouraging military spouses to speak up and equipping them with the tools and education to do so.
Homefront Rising returns on May 12 for the third full-day session in Washington, D.C., after several successful events and panels in Tampa, San Diego and Seattle. The focus of the day is on educating attendees to take the tools they use in their everyday lives as military spouses – resiliency, flexibility and a passion for service – and apply them to serving as advocates and leaders from the school board to the Senate.
Scheduled speakers include powerhouse military spouse advocates like Joyce Raezer from the National Military Family Association, Ashley Broadway-Mack from the American Military Partner Association, and Megan Paone from Hiring Our Heroes, as well as past Homefront Rising attendee Jinyoung Englund, a current candidate for a Washington State Senate seat.
The 2017 Homefront Rising agenda is set to cover a variety of relevant topics such as:
- Insight on creating a platform around the issues that matter to you
- Tips on building a powerful network even as you move around courtesy of the military
- Advice on dealing with the media to get your message across
- Information on different pathways to building a career in politics, including as a staffer, appointee and elected official
- Guidance on getting what you want – funding, votes, legislation, a job – when dealing with those in power
“We see Homefront Rising as just the beginning of military spouse advocacy initiative. Military families need to be part of the conversation in Washington, D.C., and all levels of government, and Homefront Rising gives them the tools to do that effectively,” Weiner said. “When military spouses have a clear space at the table, our country will be stronger for it.”
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 are you passionate about? Join us on May 12 and be part of the homefront rising!
Want to attend? Here’s the nitty-gritty:
What: Homefront Rising: Military Spouse Political Summit
When: May 12, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Why: Because you want to make a difference
Cost: $99. Ticket includes tuition, materials and lunch
How: Register here
Libby Jamison is the President-Elect of the Military Spouse JD Network and a Homefront Rising co-organizer. In addition to her work with MSJDN, Libby volunteers with Junior League and Hire Heroes USA. After living in California, Florida and Rhode Island over the past 5 years, she currently resides in Virginia with her husband, a Navy helicopter pilot, and works in Washington, D.C., for the Department of Veterans Affairs.