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New Congressional caucus to address needs of female veterans

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

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.

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.”

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