Olivia Burley joins WDVA as Military Spouse Liaison
The Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs is pleased to announce the appointment of Olivia Burley to the newly created position of Military Spouse Liaison. Ms. Burley comes to WDVA with two decades of experience supporting military families and military spouses, most recently as the Regional Director for the national non-profit Operation Homefront, where she worked with military families across Washington, Alaska, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado. As a fierce military spouse advocate, Olivia has worked with elected officials, government and community leaders, installation leadership, and business executives to meet the needs of spouses across the Pacific Northwest.
As a military spouse of nineteen years herself, Olivia brings a unique awareness of the needs, interests, and challenges faced by military spouses and the military and veteran community. In addition to several posts across the country, Olivia’s family has been stationed at Naval Base Kitsap, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, and most recently Naval Station Everett. As a military child, Olivia also grew up on McChord AFB. Olivia and her recently retired Navy spouse and children now live in Snohomish County, but her duties will have her traveling to military communities across the entire State of Washington.
About WDVA and the Military Spouse Program
The Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs helps connect veterans and their family members to the benefits and services they earned through their military service. In 2019, WDVA Director Alfie Alvarado-Ramos and ESD Commissioner Suzi LeVine held a series of listening sessions with military spouses and advocates at all of Washington State’s major military installations. These listening sessions identified several key challenges facing military spouses in Washington State, including: (1) employer relationships and bias; (2) job search support; (3) credential portability; and (4) childcare. Findings and recommendations are included in a summary report, which can be found on the WDVA Military Families page (https://www.dva.wa.gov/militaryfamilies).
Senate Bill 6626
In response to input provided by military spouses during the listening sessions, the Washington State Legislature passed SB 6626 during the 2020 legislation, which created the Military Spouse Liaison position within the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs. The legislation directs WDVA to: (1) conduct outreach and advocacy for military spouses; (2) provide assistance and information on professional licenses, credentials, and employment; (3) conduct research and create informational materials; (4) examine barriers and provide recommendations to help access child care; (5) coordinate with the Department of Children, Youth, and Families to develop child care resources; and (6) coordinate with the Employment Security Department to develop a common form to help find meaningful employment.
Sponsors of the senate bill include Senators Conway, O'Ban, Hunt, Zeiger, Hobbs, Becker, Randall, Short, Brown, and Wagoner.
Sponsors of the companion house bill include Representatives Klippert, Kilduff, Leavitt, Van Werven, Griffey, and Volz.