WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine announced that his guest at Tuesday’s Presidential State of the Union Address will be Portsmouth, VA native, military spouse, and entrepreneur Lakesha Cole. Kaine, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Co-Chair of the Senate Military Family Caucus, and the proud father of a Marine, has made reducing military spouse unemployment one of his top priorities over the past year in the Senate. Last year, Kaine met with groups of military spouses in the Commonwealth to discuss obstacles to employment for military spouses and the strain it puts on service members and their families. He is currently working on legislation to reduce military spouse unemployment and examine the effects frequent moves and reassignments have on military spouses’ careers. Military families frequently face financial insecurity due to spousal unemployment, which impacts the overall success of our military. Somewhere between 12% and 25% of military spouses are unemployed.
“I’m thrilled Mrs. Cole will join me as my guest in Washington Tuesday,” said Kaine. “After five transfers herself, Lakesha knows first-hand how much military spouses sacrifice in service to our country, and the toll that can take on a spouse’s career and their family. She has gone above and beyond the call of duty, and is not only thriving as a successful small business owner, but also mentors other military spouses and aspiring entrepreneurs. Military spouses sacrifice every single day, and we must find a way to lower the high unemployment rate and better support our military families. I hope Lakesha’s presence signals to military spouses across the country that we are grateful for your service and we’ve got your back.”
“I am honored to attend the State of the Union Address with Senator Kaine,” said Lakesha Cole. “I appreciate Senator Kaine’s efforts to draw attention to military spouse unemployment and create policies that support military families. Dealing with the every-day stress of being in a military family is hard enough, but being an unemployed military spouse makes matters worse. I am thankful to have the opportunity to help Senator Kaine shine light onto this important issue.”
Lakesha Cole is a Portsmouth, VA native, a mom, military spouse, business owner, author and mentor. She was named the 2014 Military Spouse of the Year by Armed Forces Insurance and serves as an Advisory Board Member for the Military Family Advisory Network.