MJ Hegar was raised in Cedar Park, Texas. After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin, MJ became a commissioned officer in the Air Force. There, she graduated from a highly competitive pilot training program and served three tours in Afghanistan as a combat search and medevac pilot. MJ received a Purple Heart for her bravery in 2009 after the Taliban shot down her plane and she managed to return enemy fire from the back of a helicopter and live to tell the tale. (She speaks more about this experience in this TEDx.) She has also been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor for her bravery on behalf of her crew and patients and written a memoir about her time in the military, Shoot Like A Girl.
When MJ’s combat injuries prevented her from being able to serve as a pilot, she faced controversy over her desire to enter armed combat on the ground. Doggedly lobbying the Pentagon to change an antiquated rule that kept women out of combat, MJ got the rule changed and also realized how desperate Washington is in need of new leadership.
On healthcare . . .
MJ Hegar is willing to recognize a stark reality: Texas has the highest uninsured rate in the nation. Over and over again, Texans on the campaign trail are speaking up against the unjust costs and inefficiencies associated with the current system. That’s why MJ is in favor of building on the Affordable Care Act, a young piece of legislation with the potential to provide a public government option to millions of Texans who area in the market for great insurance at a fair price.
On the environment . . .
MJ cites her two young sons as her primary reasons for running for the Senate. Simply put, she understands that the children of today stand to be the most adversely affected by climate change within their lifetimes, more so than any of the previous generations. Therefore, setting and meeting aggressive new goals for renewable energy, as well as investing in clean energy manufacturing and sustainable transportation, are priorities.
Plans for Economy
MJ saw her mother and stepfather put in the hard, honest work that define so many Americans’ careers today, jobs that require unionization and collective bargaining agreements in order for a true pursuit of the American Dream to occur. MJ’s life experience has also shown her the necessity of raising wages, lowering housing costs, and fighting against large corporate interests in favor of the individual Americans who are the reason for a company’s success in the first place. She pledges to fight against legislation that puts corporate interests before those of everyday Americans, in addition to voting for legislation that protects pensions, Social Security, and Medicare.
On education, MJ Hegar is clear: Every child deserves access to an affordable and quality education. She is an advocate for public schools and further developing vocational programs, citing the latter as providing jobs that “have always and will continue to be the backbone of our nation.” MJ will also fight for a more nuanced approach to taking out and repaying student loans, citing lowered interest rated and providing a grace period after graduation to give students time to find their footing as key measures that should be up for discussion.