Military Spouse Magazine

NOV 2018

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Photos by Erin J Photography THE SPARK THAT IGNITES THE ENERGY NECESSARY TO ELEVATE CONVERSATIONS AND SOLVE PROBLEMS OF- TEN COMES FROM AN INFLUENCER. Second Lady of the United States Karen Pence hopes she can be that spark. She is putting her focus on key issues military spouses face, like employ- ment, childcare and professional licensing, to help these problems edge closer to solutions. Last month, we had the chance to sit down with Mrs. Pence to talk about her recent round- table discussions with military spouses and her desire to encourage all military spouses during her time in Washington. As the mom of a Marine, daughter of a former airman, and daughter-in-law to a former soldier, Mrs. Pence has roots in the military community. Now she wants to give back to those who give so much. The day before our interview, Mrs. Pence visited Fort Carson, Colo., to talk about her desire to help the military community. "I feel like it's such a privilege for me to travel the nation and to meet with military spouses," said Mrs. Pence during her speech in front of military families. "Spouses have shared with me the challenges that you face, and we know they are many. And we're focusing on one or two or three that maybe we can do something about in our short term." Here is what Mrs. Pence told us when we asked her to tell us more about how she sees change happening, her plans going forward, plus how we can be a part of the solutions. Elevate and Encourage An interview with the Second Lady of the United States. By Janine Boldrin, Managing Editor MILITARY SPOUSE: How did you narrow your focus to wanting to help military spouses? SECOND LADY: We realized about a year ago that we wanted to start seeing if this was something that we could champion. But we didn't want to be presumptu- ous, and say, "We know what military spouses need, we're going to come to the rescue." So we started having listening sessions. We went all over the country, every branch, every level, enlisted and all the way up. We visited military spouses overseas, we just asked them. We would ask, "Tell us what your issues areā€¦" Nobody voted for me or elected me, I don't handle policy, I don't try to go in and act like I am someone who was elected, but I can raise awareness and I can connect groups. So we just asked the spouses, "What do want us to talk about?" >> THE THREE THINGS THAT SURFACED FROM MRS. PENCE'S LISTENING SESSIONS AS CONCERNS WITHIN THE MILITARY SPOUSE COMMUNITY INCLUDED MAINTAINING PROFESSIONAL LICENSURE THROUGH MOVES , ACCESS TO CHILD CARE , AND TIME FOR MILITARY SPOUSES TO GAIN SECURITY CLEARANCE REQUIRED FOR EMPLOYMENT . NOVEMBER 2018 / MILITARYSPOUSE.COM 19

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