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Boot Camp Teaches Spouses to Run for Office

Military spouses need to have a seat at the political table if they want the military family story to be heard.

That's the message a group of about 50 female military spouses heard at a political action bootcamp in Washington, D.C. today.

A group of military spouses listens to a panel on political appointments at the 2nd annual  Homefront Rising event in Washington, D.C.. A group of military spouses listens to a panel on political appointments at the 2nd annual Homefront Rising event in Washington, D.C..

"Nobody else has your voice, nobody else can tell your story," said Jocelyn Benson, an Army spouse who ran as a Democrat for Michigan's Secretary of State in 2010. "Without your place at that table no one will know what that story is."

"No one on the hill is saying 'let's screw over military families today,'" said Joyce Raezer, the National Military Family Association's executive director. "Most of them have never severed ... so they don't know your life like you know it."

The second annual Homefront Rising event is bipartisan and looks to help military spouses and family members learn how to run for office or become involved in politics. The event was sponsored by military.com, In Gear Career, the Military Spouse JD Network, Cato Institute and the Military Officer Association of America (MOAA).

During the day long event spouses heard from military family advocacy groups, military spouses who have run for office in the past, public affairs specialists and campaign experts. They tackled a variety of subjects including why military family members should run for office and how to do it.

Many of the panelists advised that those who are interested in getting involved in politics or running for office start by getting involved in whatever community they are currently living in -- even if they are only going to be there for a short time, they said. Just like starting or keeping any career as a military spouse, they said, it's about taking whatever you can get, networking where you can and building your experience with what you have available.

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