News 15 may — 15:53

Female vets to form House caucus for women who serve

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 Congresswomen with military service in their past, some of them forged on post-Sept. 11 wars, are hoping to create their own caucus to drive an agenda to support the nation’s growing ranks of female service members, Associated press reports.

Such a caucus — bipartisan and including men — would be a first, too. There are more than a dozen military and veteran-related caucuses in the House, but none dedicated to the specific needs of women who serve. The still-forming Congressional Servicewomen & Women Veterans Caucus is part of this group’s growing network of influence in national politics that includes efforts to recruit more female veterans to Congress.

“It’s a long time coming,” said Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, D-Pa., an Air Force veteran and third-generation service member who is also among the historic class of House freshmen that delivered a Democratic majority in last year’s elections. She recalls leaving the military in 1991 after she and her husband had a baby because she could not afford child care in Boston, the city where they were living. “What I’ve learned nearly 30 years later is that it hasn’t changed.”

But child care isn’t the only concern of the group, which Houlahan hopes will eventually include senators who have served. Educating women on the veterans’ health care and other services that are available to them also is on the agenda, as well as delivering and expanding on those services.

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