CONGRESSMAN BISHOP CONNECTS WITH MILITARY FAMILIES
COLUMBUS, GA – Today, Wednesday, November 6, 2013, Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02), Co-chair of the Congressional Military Family Caucus (CMFC) and Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies hosted a Military Family Summit for over 200 members of the extended military family at the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center near Fort Benning, Georgia.
“Whenever I meet with military families, two people who frequently come to mind are my father-in-law and my wife,” said Congressman Bishop, “I mention my wife and her family’s experiences because often we tend to focus primarily on the service members who willingly put themselves in harm’s way to protect the freedoms we cherish. However, we cannot forget that the families they leave behind sacrifice just as much as our heroes who deploy on missions for our country. These families are impacted in countless ways – seen and unseen – and we have an obligation to do right by them.”
Military families were introduced to Members of Congress, officials from the Department of Defense, and personnel from numerous military family support organizations to discuss pressing issues impacting them. Six panel discussions designed to open a dialogue for military families addressed critical issues such as family health, resiliency, spouse employment and education, military child education, transition assistance, retirement, benefits, and financial readiness for the future with attending military families.
“The issues that will be discussed today…are truly informative to us, and are issues we will take back to Washington with us, because they are of national importance,” continued Congressman Bishop, “We have no choice but to see that our troops, veterans, and their families have the support they need. Together, I know we can get the job done.”
Also joining Congressman Bishop in giving remarks were Congressman John Culberson (R-TX), member of the Congressional Military Family Caucus; Sergeant Major Bryan Battaglia, Senior Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs; Mrs. Lisa Battaglia, spouse of Sergeant Major Battaglia; Lt. General Joseph L. Lengyel, Vice Chief of the National Guard Bureau; Maj. Gen Jim Butterworth, Adjutant General of the Georgia National Guard; Mrs. Katie McMaster, spouse of MG H.R. McMaster of Fort Benning; COL (P) Leopoldo A. Quintas, Commandant of the US Army Armor School; LTG (Ret) Carmen Cavezza, Chairman of the National Infantry Foundation; MG (Ret) Jerry White, Chairman of the Academy Nominations Board; Isaiah Hugley, City Manager of Columbus; and Ed Helton, Executive Director of The Leadership Institute.
The CMFC is a bipartisan congressional caucus that educates elected officials, congressional staffers, senior military leaders and the public on a wide range of unique issues that affect military families. Currently, over 80 Democrats and Republicans are members of the CMFC.
To view or download photos from today’s event from today’s event, please click here. To view today’s live-tweet conversation, please click here. For more information about the Congressional Military Family Caucus, please click here.
In his opening remarks, Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. noted the importance of giving back to our nation’s veterans and military families. Below is the full text of Congressman Bishop’s prepared remarks:
PREPARED REMARKS FOR
THE HONORABLE SANFORD D. BISHOP, JR.
CMFC FAMILY SUMMIT – NATIONAL INFANTRY MUSEUM
COLUMBUS, GA - WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2013
Thank you all for joining us this morning at today’s Congressional Military Family Caucus Summit! It’s a pleasure to be in a room with those who make America great – the brave families of service men and women who admirably defend our nation and safeguard our liberties.
Today, I am honored to be joined by so many that care so deeply about the lives and wellbeing of military families.
I want to thank everyone here that is taking part in today’s forums. To everyone visiting Columbus for the first time, welcome to our beautiful city! Today’s event would not have been possible without the assistance of the numerous contributions from this morning’s speakers, panelists, and support groups. Also, my staff, the staff at Columbus State University, and the staff of the National Infantry Museum have gone above and beyond to ensure today is a success. Thank you!
Lastly and most of all, I would like to personally thank the service members, military families, and veterans that are here with us today. Our nation will forever be indebted to you for your service and countless selfless sacrifices.
Founded several years ago, my colleagues in the Congressional Military Families Caucus and Senate Military Family Caucus, such as co-chair Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers and co-member Congressman John Culberson, find it important to educate elected officials, congressional staffers, senior military leaders, and the public on a wide range of issues that affect military families such as:
- The range of physical and psychological issues arisen over the last 12 years that our service members, their families, and caregivers deal with on a day by day basis.
- The challenges military parents and their children deal with during the process of frequent moves between different states and school districts, not to mention the obstacles to learning your child faces when a parent is deployed overseas.
- The unique difficulties surrounding re-certifications, licensing, or lack of transferability faced by so many of our military spouses when they want to continue their education and seek employment.
- To educating our service men and women with young families on how to properly budget finances, buy a house, invest in a thrift savings plan or IRA, save for your kids’ college expenses, and to not be taken advantage of by high interest predatory loans.
- And to families preparing to leave the military community and transition into the civilian world, away from the support of a military base. The transition can be difficult for a family if they are not prepared with the right employment, health care, and educational information.
Since the Caucus’ founding in 2009, the Senate launched the Senate Military Family Caucus and the White House has joined ranks by creating the amazing Joining Forces initiative. And in case you haven’t heard—last week President Obama signed a proclamation officially naming November as Military Family Appreciation Month!
The issues that will be discussed today in the panels are truly informative to us, and are issues we will take back to Washington with us, because they are of national importance. We hope that you will actively participate by listening, asking questions of the panelists, engaging in the discussions with our panels, visiting the resources section upstairs, and giving feedback after the summit. The stories you share and input you provide will help us to effectively work together to improve your quality of life and expand your opportunities.
In closing, I will briefly share with you that whenever I meet with military families, two people who frequently come to mind are my father-in-law and my wife. My father-in-law served in the U.S. military for several years and my wife was a military child. In fact, when my wife was a child, her family moved every two or three years. She spent her formative years at home and overseas.
The constant change of station impacted her family both positively and negatively. Due to all of her family’s travels, my wife grew-up as a very well-rounded child in that she was able to gain exposure to different people and various cultures. However, the flip side of the coin is that with the frequent travels her family was forced to address hard pressing issues such as saying goodbye to old friends and acclimating themselves to new re-assignment locations.
I mention my wife and her family’s experiences because often we tend to focus primarily on the service members who willingly put themselves in harm’s way to protect the freedoms we cherish. However, we cannot forget that the families they leave behind sacrifice just as much as our heroes who deploy on missions for our country. These families are impacted in countless ways – seen and unseen – and we have an obligation to do right by them.
I look forward to continuing the good work of the Military Family Caucus and the other 85 Members of Congress who make up this Caucus. We have no choice but to see that our troops, veterans, and their families have the support they need. Together, I know we can get the job done.
Thank you all again for being here this morning and I very much look forward to today’s insightful dialogue.