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The Military Family: new bipartisan bill aims to keep families within 300 miles; members could request station change

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- In a bipartisan effort, two Colorado Congressmen are joining forces to support the military families.

Representative Jason Crow, of Colorado's 6th Congressional District and Representative Doug Lamborn, of Colorado's 4th Congressional District, are co-sponsors of the Military Family Dependents Act, or HR 5100. 

The Democrat and Republican, respectively, drafted the bill that would allow service members to request a change of station, putting them within 300 miles of their dependents.

"In an era where military service is very tough -- we ask our military families to make tremendous sacrifices, repeated deployments, very difficult training schedules, and prolonged or even unnecessary separations should not be part of that hardship if we can avoid them," said Rep. Crow, himself a former Army Ranger.

A station change wouldn't be a given if requested; commanders, though, would need to review the request within five days.  Service members could then have the ability to appeal a decision if their request is denied.

"We just want to create another mechanism to empower our servicemen and women so they can have their children close enough that they can visit on a regular basis," said Rep. Crow. 

The bill comes at a time when recruitment levels are at historic lows. 

The Army, in the next two years, is set to fall 40,000 soldiers short of recruitment goals; the Air Force, 10,000 airmen short; the Navy, 6,000 seamen short.  The exceptions -- the Marines and the Space Force -- are both set to meet recruitment numbers.

"We cannot achieve our mission and maintain our readiness if we're falling 40,000 recruits short -- just the Army -- of its goals.  We're looking at 50-year low unemployment rates, wages have increased over the last year and a half, young folks have a lot of options," said Rep. Crow. 

While Congressman Lamborn was not available for an interview, he did issue this statement:

“Whether in defense of national security needs or traditional family values, I will continue to advocate for Coloradans and servicemembers.  The Military FAMILY Dependents Act is instrumental in helping the men and women who serve be closer to their children and dependents.”

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R), Colorado Fourth Congressional District

Rep. Brittany Pettersen, of Colorado's 7th Congressional District, has also signed onto the bill.

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Heather Skold

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