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Mike Garcia: Thank You to Our Military Families

Pens an op-ed in The Antelope Valley Press

Representative Mike Garcia (CA-25) penned an op-ed in The Antelope Valley Press in honor of November's Military Family Appreciation Month.
Representative Mike Garcia (CA-25) penned an op-ed in The Antelope Valley Press in honor of November's Military Family Appreciation Month. Garcia is a former U.S. Navy fighter pilot who flew in over 30 combat missions in Operation Iraqi Freedom. 

Read the op-ed here or below: 
Mike Garcia: Thank You to Our Military Families

The Antelope Valley Press
By U.S. Rep. Mike Garcia 
November 30, 2021 
America remains the best nation in the world because of the men and women in the military who are willing to fight to protect the freedoms granted to us in the Constitution and ensure our nation remains safe and secure. While our nation will forever be indebted to those that are willing to raise their right hand and sign on the dotted line— we must never forget that behind every brave servicemember is their family. Our military families make their own commitment and sacrifice for our nation. 
November was Military Family Appreciation Month. It is a time to honor and thank our military families for their service to this country. It is also a time to reflect on how we could better serve these men and women who sacrifice greatly for our nation.  
During my time in the military, I witnessed the burdens that our military families bare. In Washington, one of my top priorities is fighting to ensure our military families are properly taken care.
Right now, many military families face food insecurities and are living on food stamps because their base pay is unfairly and unsustainably low. Our military families should never have to worry about making ends meet.
As a member of the House Committee on Appropriations, which is charged with ensuring that American taxpayer dollars are properly appropriated, I have advocated for a pay raise for our servicemembers. For many of our U.S. servicemembers, they must serve three years of service and gain the rank of E4 before they can be at or above most states’ minimum wage – this is simply unacceptable. 
I offered an amendment during the House Appropriations Committee markup on the FY2022 Defense Appropriations bill, which would have ensured all servicemembers make at least $15 an hour. While my amendment was not included in the final bill, I secured the commitment from the Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Defense to work with me to address this issue moving forward.  
In an effort to improve economic opportunity for our military families, I introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Military Spouse Licensing Relief Act of 2021 which would allow military spouses with a valid professional license in one state to continue to utilize it in another state if moving on military orders. My bill was included in the FY2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which recently passed the House and is now awaiting a vote in the Senate. It is my hope that the Senate quickly passes this bill to support our military families. 
In Congress, I will also continue to fight to ensure that we are properly funding our military. This will allow us to both keep our nation safe and secure and to provide the services and support our military families deserve. 
To all military families in California’s 25th District and nationwide—thank you for your service and sacrifice. Advocating on behalf of our nation’s veterans and military families remains one of my highest priorities. If my office and I can assist you with a federal agency, please call my office at 661-568-4855.  God bless all who have served and are serving our nation.