Military Spouse JD Network (MSJDN) and In Gear Career, along with our partners USMC Life, She Should Run, Women Influencing Public Policy, and the American Military Partner Association, are pleased to announce that they have confirmed the morning keynote speaker at Homefront Rising on February 11, 2014: Congresswoman Niki Tsongas.
Homefront Rising is a political education event in Washington, D.C. that targets military spouse attorneys and other military family advocates. Congresswoman Tsongas, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, has a long record of supporting the military.
[USMC Life’s note: I am interested in learning more about the political process. While I don’t think that I will ever run for office, I’m very interested in learning how things work. If you live in the DC area, I highly encourage you to come].
The idea for Homefront Rising was hatched the day before last October’s government shutdown by MSJDN founder Mary Reding and Lauren Weiner and Donna Huneycutt, co-owners of Wittenberg Weiner Consulting, LLC (WWC) and board members of military spouse non-profit In Gear Career (IGC). Sitting together in the Capitol Hill Marriott, all three women waited with bated breath for the decisions that were being made in a chamber just a few blocks away.
They realized that unlike any other group in America, the decisions made on the Hill in Washington, D.C., directly impacted every aspect of a military spouse’s life. Just by way of example:
- Where in the world their family will be sent
- What job their spouse will do
- What paycheck will be deposited into their bank account
- What healthcare procedures will be covered for their family
- Whether their spouse is sent to war
- When they come home, if they miss Christmas or birthdays
- If they are paid retirement
- How much spouses are paid if their service member dies
As such, it is imperative that spouses not only understand the political process, but also that they are engaged with it. Homefront Rising will provide non-partisan education to military spouses and advocates from the best experts in politics. The end goal is to encourage military spouses to become active in the process that affects them so profoundly.
Congresswoman Tsongas is very familiar with the military way of life; she is the eldest daughter of Colonel Russell Elmer Sauvage. Congresswoman Tsongas grew up all around the world on military bases, from Japan to Germany to Texas. Congresswoman Tsongas is well acquainted with the importance and purpose of a military family and the sacrifices they make in support of their country. She credits her upbringing with shaping her approach to life, and with instilling in her the value of service to one’s community.
To that end, Niki Tsongas ran for public office. In 2007, Congresswoman Tsongas was elected to the US House of Representatives in a Special Election to represent the people of the Fifth District, which was renamed the Third District after her most recent reelection in 2012. She represents the Third Congressional District of Massachusetts, and is now serving her fourth term.
Congresswoman Tsongas has served on several committees and has accomplished so much during her tenure in the House of Representatives, with a particular focus on military advocacy. She sought out a position on the House Armed Services Committee shortly after her election in 2007, and in that capacity, has pushed for development of lightweight body armor and new measures to better prevent and respond to incidents of sexual assault in the military. Congresswoman Tsongas has made five trips to Afghanistan and two to Iraq since being elected to Congress to oversee the war effort and has spoken for the need for women in the rebuilding of government.
What’s more, Congresswoman Tsongas is not afraid to reach across the aisle. The Lowell Sun printed in 2012: “Tsongas has convinced us of a core common goal: As long as she is in Congress, the best interests of constituents will always come ahead of party politics.”
Congresswoman Tsongas has a BA in religion from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts and earned her JD from Boston University. She lives in her adopted hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts and is proud to be the mother of three daughters and, recently, grandmother to one grandson.
We hope you join us in our excitement to have this amazing woman in attendance to share her experiences and political knowledge.