During a visit to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island Tuesday, first lady Dr. Jill Biden asked Oak Harbor military families how the U.S. government can better support them.
It was her second stop on a listening tour of three West Coast military installations this week.
“We want to know what challenges you face, what’s getting in your way,” she said to an audience of military spouses. “And just as importantly, we want to know what’s working at places like Whidbey.”
She arrived at NAS Whidbey just before noon and toured one of the aircraft hangars before going to a conference room to read her remarks.
Afterward, she met with local military families to listen to their concerns in order to better understand the obstacles they face and the support they need. The press was not permitted to attend that portion of her visit or ask the first lady any questions.
Biden announced earlier this month that she plans to re-launch the Joining Forces initiative she helped start with former first lady Michelle Obama in 2011.
The initiative’s goal is to work “hand in hand with the public and private sectors to ensure that service members, veterans, and their families have the tools they need to succeed throughout their lives,” according to an archived web page from the Obama administration.
Many of the initiative’s early efforts focused on encouraging private companies to hire military veterans. Biden launched the Military Spouse Employment Partnership, an effort to encourage employers to hire more military spouses, in 2011 through Joining Forces.
More than 60,000 military spouses were hired three years after the partnership launched, she reported at the time.