SERVICE MEMBERS AND FAMILIES DISCUSS ISSUES, FIND SOLUTIONS AT 2015 CONGRESSIONAL MILITARY FAMILY CAUCUS SUMMIT
COLUMBUS, GA – Yesterday, Congressman Sanford D. Bishop (D-GA), co-chair of the Congressional Military Family Caucus (CMFC) and Ranking Member of the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies was joined by co-chair Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), staff from over twenty Congressional offices, officials from the Department of Defense and Fort Benning, representatives from military service organizations, and over 100 military family and service members at the annual Congressional Military Family Caucus Summit at the National Infantry Museum near Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia.
“Personal experiences in my family, my constituent’s families, and military families from across the United States have taught me that our service members and their families serve our nation and sacrifice together,” said Congressman Bishop. “Our military families are impacted in countless ways – seen and unseen – and we have an obligation to do right by them.”
"It's my honor to participate again in this annual summit to hear from military families. Through these events we’ve addressed critical issues that uniquely challenge military families, including mental health, Wounded Warrior support, health care, military spouse employment, multiple deployments, and education,” said Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers. “As we work to create a military for the 21st Century, we need to also embrace forward-looking, technology-driven solutions to help support our military families—from making it easier to transfer medical records when families PCS to a new duty station to working to connect spouses with employment opportunities. I'd like to thank Congressman Bishop for his continued collaboration and leadership on these critical issues."
“All too often, the tremendous hardships military families must endure, are endured in silence. But not today,” concluded Congressman Bishop.
The Summit serves as a direct channel between the Caucus and military families. Held by the CMFC annually, the Summit works to connect military families with Members of Congress, the Department of Defense, and private sector groups to discuss the challenges and pressing issues impacting America’s servicemen and their families as well as offer resources. Led by three panels of experts, discussed subjects included healthcare, spousal employment, benefits, and transition out of the military.
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 through #CMFCSummit, please click here. For coverage of the 2014 summit at Fairchild AFB in Spokane, Washington, please click here. For coverage of the 2013 summit at Fort Benning, Georgia, please click here. For coverage of the 2012 summit at Fort Benning, Georgia, please click here. For coverage of the 2011 summit at Fairchild AFB in Spokane, Washington, please click here. For more information about the Congressional Military Family Caucus, please click here.
Below is the full text of Congressman Sanford D. Bishop’s prepared opening remarks at the Congressional Military Family Caucus Summit:
Thank you all for joining us this morning at today’s Congressional Military Family Caucus Summit! To everyone visiting Columbus for the first time, welcome to our beautiful city!
It is a real pleasure to be with those who make America great – the brave families of service men and women who admirably defend our nation and safeguard our liberties. In fact, I would like to personally thank the service members, military families, and veterans with us today. Our nation will forever be indebted to you for your service and countless selfless sacrifices.
I am proud of the military families living at Fort Benning in Columbus, the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany, and the communities around Robins Air Force Base here in Georgia.These volunteers are a living embodiment of the eternal optimism we hold in our country. Truly, military families are the backbone of our military.
Today, I am honored to be joined by my friend, colleague and Co-Chair of the Congressional Military Family Caucus, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers from Washington State’s Fifth Congressional District. Married to a Navy pilot retired after 26 years of service, Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers knows firsthand the sacrifices our military families make as their loved ones fight to defend our nation. I want to thank both Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers and Brian, her husband, for their respective service to our great nation.
The Congressional Military Family Caucus Summit would not be possible without the assistance of the numerous contributions from today’s speakers, moderators, panelists, and support organizations. Your expertise will provide us with background on issues most important to the spouses, widows, and children of military service members stationed across the world. Also, 25 Congressional Offices have sent staff to directly gather information today to bring back to Washington. Finally, my staff and the staff of the National Infantry Museum have gone above and beyond to ensure today is a success. Thank you!
Healthcare, education, jobs, housing, benefits, transition, mental health, and child care. Issues common to all Americans, but as we know, holding a unique set of circumstances for military families.
All too often, the tremendous hardships military families must endure, are endured in silence.
But not today.
During the past five summits, feedback received was vital to our efforts educating elected officials, congressional staffers, senior military leaders, and the public on the wide range of issues that affect military families. Also, it provides our caucus feedback upon which to base policy solutions. And so I encourage you to speak your mind and share your story as it is your input that points us to where we need to go.
As we continue to work through sequestration and constrained defense budgets, we must ensure that our obligations to military families are met.
We cannot forget -- military service is about people. How we care for service members and their families determine the success of the most professional all volunteer force this world has even seen, now and into the future.
For myself, Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers, and many of our colleagues in both the Congressional Military Family Caucus and Senate Military Family Caucus, the issues discussed today are important to us not just because of our constituencies, but due to our deeply personal connection as well.
Experiences like my wife’s have taught me that our service members and their families serve and sacrifice together. These families are impacted in countless ways – seen and unseen – and we have an obligation to do right by them.
Almost five years ago Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers and I founded this Caucus to honor the debt our nation holds for the sacrifices military families continue to make. Help us fulfill that promise.
Again, we hope that you will actively participate in the breakout sessions and help us to work together, improve military families’ quality of life, and expand your opportunities.