October 2, 2020 – Military veterans from across the South Sound announced their support for Marilyn Strickland for Congress today and launched the “Veterans for Marilyn” coalition to help support Marilyn’s campaign and advise on veterans and military issues.
In their support of Marilyn’s campaign to represent Washington’s 10th Congressional District, they highlighted Marilyn’s lived experience as a member of a military and veteran family, and her commitment to bipartisan work on issues affecting the active duty, reserve and retired military community.
Working with veterans including members of Veterans for Marilyn, military families, advocates and leaders across the South Sound, Marilyn is committed to prioritizing the following issues as a Member of Congress:
- Supporting the Transition to Civilian Life, and Access to Education, and Jobs Training: Reintegration from long deployments and the transition to civilian life can be the most challenging times of a service member’s life and their family. The skill set and expertise gained in the service may not always easily translate to civilian employers. Marilyn will work with members of both parties to support and improve the programs that ensure veterans have access to the tools and support they need including access to affordable higher education or vocational training. She supports increased funding for the Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Programs, and will work to protect and expand the G.I. Bill.
- Supporting Federal Investments in the South Sound’s Military Community: The South Sound is home to Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM), one of the largest and most well-regarded military bases in the world, which has an annual economic impact of $8 billion and is the largest single point employer in Washington State. Marilyn will support the Defense Community Infrastructure Program (DCIP), which will bring $50 million in critical infrastructure investment to the South Sound. She will continue Congressman Denny Heck’s important work on this measure and aim to bring even more federal investment to our military communities.
- Strengthening and Protecting the Veterans Health Administration: Marilyn will work to improve the Veterans Health Administration so veterans can get the physical and mental health care they need in a timely manner. She will advocate for increased investment in the VHA’s program for suicide prevention, and call for action to improve access to mental health resources – especially for veterans suffering from conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Fostering Employment Opportunities for Military Spouses: Marilyn will support and work to expand Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act funding to assist military spouses who have lost employment because of relocation of their spouse’s duty station.
- Supporting Entrepreneurship by Veterans and Military Spouses: Marilyn will work with both parties to help veterans and transitioning service members start and grow businesses. She will support and work to expand the Boots to Business program. Administered through the Office of Veteran Business Development in the Small Business Administration (SBA), it addresses topics including market research, business fundamentals, and revenue readiness. Marilyn supports bipartisan action to improve access to credit, increase outreach and help promote small business programs available to veterans.
- Advancing Equity for Women Veterans: There are two million women veterans living in the United States. Women comprise the fastest growing subpopulation of both the military and veteran populations. Currently, women comprise nearly 20% of serving military personnel and 10% of the veteran population. The women veteran population is projected to grow to 18% of the total veteran population by 2040. Marilyn will work to support and honor the two million women who have served in the U.S. military and promote more equitable access to federal resources including comprehensive health care, affordable housing and job training.
“As the proud daughter of a U.S. Army veteran who fought in two wars, it is a true honor to have the support of so many men and women who have served our country bravely. Many of them are originally from other parts of our country but have chosen to retire in our region. To each and every one of them, thank you. I will work every day to make sure that we keep the promises we’ve made to our veterans, men and women in uniform, and their families,” said Strickland. “I look forward to being a strong voice for the South Sound’s veterans and military families in Congress.”
“We would be fortunate to have a strong advocate for our veterans and military families like Marilyn who works across the aisle to help make sure we keep our promises,” said Brigadier General Oscar Hillman, United States Army (Ret.) and Co-Chair of Veterans for Marilyn.
“From her own experience, Marilyn understands the needs of veterans and military families, and she knows the important role that Joint Base Lewis McChord plays for our security and our economy,” said Colonel Willie Stewart, Sr., United States Army Reserves (Ret.), and Co-Chair of Veterans for Marilyn. “In my view, Marilyn is the best person to serve the South Sound’s veterans and military families.”
The members of the Veterans for Marilyn coalition include:
- Master Sergeant Peter Ansara, U.S. Air Force
- Nathan Bowling, U.S. Air Force
- Major David N. Boyd, U.S. Army
- Major Steve Buchanan, U.S. Army
- Staff Sergeant Joe Bushnell, U.S. Marine Corps
- Elmer Clark, U.S. Army
- Master Sergeant Tom Ebenhoh, U.S. Air Force
- Talia Euell, U.S. Army
- 1st Lieutenant Raynard Grant, U.S. Army
- Specialist Duane Henry, U.S. Army
- Brigadier General Oscar Hillman, U.S. Army
- Jonathan Hopkins, U.S. Army
- Commander Mark Kerr, U.S. Navy
- Lieutenant Commander Sharon Kirkpatrick, U.S. Navy
- Sergeant Sid Lee, U.S. Marine Corps
- Colonel Ron Lucas, U.S. Army
- Ryan “Lex” Luther, U.S. Air Force
- Chief Master Sergeant Sam Mack, U.S. Air Force
- Dominick Martin, U.S. Marine Corps
- Colonel William G. Moore, U.S. Army
- Melanie Morgan, U.S. Army
- Major Faith Mueller, U.S. Air Force
- Staff Sergeant Bob Nakamura, U.S. Army
- Lyle Quasim, U.S. Army
- Lieutenant Colonel Justin Raphael, U.S. Army
- Sergeant Donna Rayford, U.S. Army
- Captain Larry Seaquist, U.S. Navy
- Colonel Willie Stewart, Sr., U.S. Army
- Petty Officer Second Class Courtney Swanson, U.S. Navy
- Captain Rob Thoms, U.S. Navy
- Petty Officer Second Class Catherine Ushka, U.S. Navy
- Lieutenant Colonel Mark Vanderbeek, U.S. Marine Corps
- Corporal Chuck Wharton, U.S. Army
- Colonel Louis C. Williams, U.S. Army
- Master Sergeant Shellie Willis, U.S. Army
- Senior Master Sergeant C. Lynn Willis, U.S. Air Force
- Specialist Chris Winters, U.S. Army
- Sergeant Victoria Woodards, U.S. Army
- Captain Daniella Young, U.S. Army
If elected, Marilyn will be the first African-American from the Pacific Northwest elected to Congress, and the first Korean-American woman to serve in Congress’ 230-year history.
At the core of Marilyn’s campaign is a diverse and growing coalition of support. You can view the full list of endorsements here.