A veteran and advocate for working families
MJ Hegar is an Air Force combat veteran running to fight for Texas working families in the U.S. Senate. Raised in Texas’ Hill Country, MJ grew up dreaming of serving our country as a military pilot. After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin, she enlisted in the Air Force and began training to fly. MJ went on to serve three tours in Afghanistan as a rescue helicopter pilot until her helicopter was shot down by enemy fire. She was awarded a Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor for her bravery and heroism. She soon discovered that her options for a ground combat military job were limited because she is a woman. MJ partnered with the ACLU to successfully petition the U.S. Department of Defense to overturn the limitations. MJ currently lives in Round Rock with her husband, two young sons, and three stepchildren.
An advocate for equal opportunity
MJ is a strong advocate for expanding opportunities for women and families. When she learned that she was unable to apply for a military job she wanted after she could no longer be a pilot, MJ set out to change the rules. She spent years traveling back and forth between Texas and Washington, D.C., meeting with policymakers at the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill and urging them to take action. MJ was one of the plaintiffs in the ACLU’s lawsuit against the U.S. secretary of defense, who ultimately repealed the combat exclusion policy that had been limiting women’s opportunities for advancement in the military. As an advocate for change, MJ got a firsthand look at how broken Washington is — and it left her with deep concerns about the ever-increasing dysfunction we were leaving for the next generation.
An opportunity to flip a U.S. Senate seat from red to blue
Now MJ is taking on the fight for the Senate. She is running against incumbent Republican John Cornyn, who has spent nearly two decades in Washington serving special interests over Texans. Cornyn has voted to defund Planned Parenthood, repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement plan, and against strengthening equal pay protections and ensuring women are fairly compensated for their work. Deep-pocketed special interests rely on Cornyn’s vote in the Senate, and they are sure to spend heavily to keep him there. The EMILY’s List community has the power to help MJ fight back and win, and we are proud to support her strong grassroots campaign. Texas has never before elected a Democratic woman to serve in the Senate, and MJ has what it takes to make history as the first. Let’s show this champion for Texas working families our full support to help her flip this seat from red to blue — and let’s take back the Senate.