After spending the last year-or-so working with members of the Military Spouse JD Network to fight for our military lifestyle, I’ve learned a couple things: (1) military spouses know how to get stuff done; and (2) we are all that we have. I make time for my advocacy work for good reason: I don’t want my legal career to derail my husband’s military ambitions, and I don’t want future military families to make the trade-offs my family already has.
I know it’s a tough time out there in America, with decreasing revenues fighting an increasing need for programs. And I genuinely trust that our elected leaders are doing the best they can for military families.
But for me, still, it’s not enough.
I want to see military spouses attend their local city council meetings, school board events and town halls. I want to see military spouses in their statehouses, engaging with state lawmakers about how best to serve the military community. I want to see military spouses and veterans roaming the halls of Congress — not as lobbyists, not as legislative staff, but as the decision-makers themselves.
That is why you cannot miss this event. Homefront Rising is for you. It’s not for just for attorneys, or stay-at-home-moms, or advocates who already speak out — it’s for you. Whether it’s the commissary, compensation, COLA reductions or something else, you cannot afford to step back and let others take the lead. You need to be involved in your local, state, and national political conversations, or someone else will.
Let’s blast some misconceptions out of the water:
1. “My voice doesn’t matter.” Wrong. We groan and moan about the military-civilian divide, but when is the last time you shared your story with an elected official? How can they be expected to understand our lifestyle if we don’t connect with them?
Nothing has surprised me more in the past year than listening to my representatives in both statehouses and U.S. Congress tell me that the most important part of their day is when they hear from constituents, particularly their military constituency. Building relationships with decision-makers not only enhances your political awareness, it helps that politician understand military families. Homefront Rising will cover how to reach out to the right lawmakers in your community.
2. “We move around too much for me to invest in local or state politics.” Wrong. It is precisely because you move around so much that you should get involved in politics. The transient nature of our lives does make it seem like investing in local relationships, whether personal or political, is a losing proposition. But buying into this misconception only shifts us further and further away from those who make the decisions about our lives.
Great places to connect with local politics are through local Chamber of Commerce events, Rotary clubs, and other community events. Once you find someone you connect with, volunteer at their office, work on their campaign, and even (yes, I’m saying it) donate to their campaign fund. Small amounts can make a big difference in a local race, and it shows you’re ready to back up your convictions with action. And Homefront Rising can help teach you to connect to the right players at the ground level to build a foundation of advocacy.
3. “I don’t see anyone like me in leadership. Who do I look to as a role model, and what if I fail?” This is a hard one, but Homefront Rising can give you the tools to become the role model you seek to follow. Plus, finding successful military spouse politicians is not impossible. Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire is a military spouse. Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, a military spouse, served in the Arizona State Senate before becoming a judge. Governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley’s husband just returned from deployment to Afghanistan. These examples and more will help lay the groundwork for your individual action at Homefront Rising. Becasue these trailblazers are only the beginning of what we as military spouses can accomplish.
And failure? Failure is a key part of success. If you fail, your military spouse peers stand ready to stand you up, dust you off, and push you to try harder next time.
4. “I want to help, but I don’t know where to start.” At Homefront Rising, you will get all the tools to navigate political advocacy, whether it’s for your personal political ambitions or if you’re just curious about public policy work. Either way, you’ll leave this day’s events with a toolbox full of ways to put your advocacy skills to good use.
So what’s your excuse? Seats are limited, but we’re saving room for you. Register today.