A photo of Air Force veteran MJ Hegar in a helicopter.

MJ Hegar served as a helicopter pilot in the Air Force.
Photo courtesy of MJ for Texas.

Air Force veteran MJ Hegar is challenging the status quo in the Lone Star State.

A self-proclaimed “ass kicking, motorcycle-riding, Texas Democrat,” she’s running for office in Texas’s 31st Congressional District—a sector that has traditionally voted Republican. In order to win, she’ll have to defeat 15-year incumbent John Carter—a Republican who she once voted for.

“The Republican leadership has gone off the frickin’ rails,” said Hegar. “And the things that the Republican Party stands for now are not representative of the values of the people in this district who voted Republican. I’m connected to this district, I understand the values of this district, I represent the values of this district, because I am this district.”

Civics Lesson: Women in Combat

A female soldier on the front lines of combat.In 2012, Hegar—together with three other female veterans—filed a lawsuit against the Pentagon for excluding women from serving in ground combat roles. Faced with mounting pressure, then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta reversed the ban in January 2013.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Although Hegar certainly has her work cut out for her, there’s evidence to suggest that she stands a good chance at winning. Voter research has shown that moderates favor candidates who are sincere, relatable, and perhaps a little rebellious.

“The candidates who are advancing and who we find are most successful this year, the quality they share is that they’re authentic,” said Rye Barcott, CEO and co-founder of With Honor, a super PAC that aims to elect more veterans, regardless of party affiliation. “They haven’t been overly coached by the DC political establishment because they’re outside of it. There’s a hunger for outsiders by voters. Candidates who are true to themselves, speak truth to power and can serve with civility, courage, integrity.”

Hegar, who served three tours as a rescue helicopter pilot in Afghanistan, is a Purple Heart recipient. She is also the second woman in history to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor.

Facebook Comments
Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from Civics Nation

You have Successfully Subscribed!

%d bloggers like this: