WASHINGTON – Days before Joe Biden becomes president, incoming first lady Jill Biden took a step Thursday toward fulfilling a promise to revive a program for military families that she and former first lady Michelle Obama once led.
Jill Biden named an executive of that program, known as Joining Forces.
Rory Brosius, 37, serves on President-elect Joe Biden's transition team and was a senior adviser to Jill Biden during the campaign. Brosius previously was deputy director of Joining Forces.
“Military families still need support,” Brosius told The Associated Press by telephone Thursday before she joined Jill Biden at a virtual meeting with representatives of organizations that support military families.
During the session, Jill Biden said that, when Joining Forces was launched in 2011, she and Mrs. Obama “knew we had to start by listening. We needed to hear from those of you who know what our community needs best."
What they learned help shape the agenda, she said, adding that, "We're going to build on what we learned during the Obama-Biden administration. We'll continue to listen and work with you.”
Mrs. Obama and Jill Biden, as the wife of then-Vice President Joe Biden, launched Joining Forces to encourage members of the public and the private sector to find ways big and small to support service members, veterans, their families and their caregivers. The program focused on education, employment and wellness.
Jill Biden brought to the White House a unique awareness of military family issues. Her late son, Beau, had served in the Delaware Army National Guard. Jill Biden continued working with military families through the Biden Foundation after leaving the White House in 2017.
The Trump administration also made a point of highlighting military issues and veterans, with President Donald Trump increasing the military budget and working to improve veterans' health care.
Outgoing first lady Melania Trump and Karen Pence, the wife of vice president Mike Pence, also worked on military family support issues, but without the banner of Joining Forces.
Mrs. Pence, who has a son in the Marine Corps, keyed in on employment challenges military spouses face because they relocate frequently. She also visited 44 U.S. military installations.