Former WV Secretary of State discusses program to assist military members and their spouses

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PRINCETON, WV (WVNS) — A candidate for West Virginia Secretary of State wants to help reduce the unemployment rate for military spouses.

A recent Forbes study showed the unemployment rate for military spouses is 24 percent. Former West Virginia Secretary of State, and current Democratic candidate for the office, Natalie Tennant, said that is an unacceptable number.

Tennant said serving in the military is a common occurrence in West Virginia, and she believes many families can be affected by the hardships associated with having a family member overseas.

Doris Irwin who has multiple veterans in her family. She said military families have to make sacrifices.

“It’s kind of a West Virginia tradition and it really is a lot of sacrifice, you sacrifice your economic well-being,” Irwin explained.

This financial stress can affect veterans and those in active duty, as well as their spouses. This is why Tennant wants to improve the Veterans Business Waiver. She said she wants to get rid of any business start up fees for veterans, active duty members, and their spouses. Military spouses would be verified through the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, and the program would continue to assist these businesses once they are started.

As a military spouse, Tennant said she has a better understanding of both the emotional and financial hardships they can go through.

“I think it’s important not to forget about the support system that is back home for our military members,” Tennant said.

Carla Sifford is the spouse of a veteran. She said her husband is thinking about trying to start his own business, and this waiver would be very beneficial.

“He’s in the midst right now of trying to start his own business, so this is really good timing,” Sifford said.

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