SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Sen. Tim Kaine visited Hampton Roads on Friday to introduce new legislation aimed at helping to reduce unemployment among military spouses.
Kaine hosted about 70 military spouses, and a panel of speakers that included Kathy Roth-Douquet, CEO of Blue Star Families.
“Working class and middle class people in America need two incomes,” she said. “Military families just aren’t able to find them because of the military lifestyle.”
Roth-Douquet’s family had to make 9 moves in 15 years.
Kaine says the national unemployment rate, at about 4 percent, is misleading.
“The military spouse unemployment, depending on the measure that you look at, is between 12 and 25 percent.”
Kaine’s plan would expand employment, education, childcare and counseling for military spouses.
Lakesha Cole of Portsmouth started her own business, but then had to start over when she and her marine husband got transferred to Japan.
She says Kaine’s legislation would help entrepreneurs.
“I think it will relieve some of the stress some of the pressure whether it’s emotionally or financially that spouses experience, when they have to transition so many times.”
The bill would also increase visibility for programs that already exist such as My CAA. It provides scholarships for spouses like Taylor Miller to get job credentials.
“The opportunity to pursue a license, certificate or even an Associate’s degree will make a huge difference.”
The bill would also increase the number of DoD-approved childcare centers, so parents can be reassured while they’re away at work.