A combat veteran’s campaign ad for a congressional seat in Texas has gone viral, attracting almost 2 million YouTube views as of Monday.
MJ Hegar (D) posted her three-minute “Doors” campaign video last week, detailing her life as an Air Force pilot and working mother in Round Rock, Texas. She is running for Texas’s 31st Congressional District against incumbent Rep. John CarterJohn Rice CarterLawmakers call on VA to remove swastikas from headstones in veterans cemeteries Warren announces slate of endorsements including Wendy Davis and Cornyn challenger Hegar Liberal group endorses Royce West for Texas Senate MORE (R).
“I think that part of the reason it’s been so well-received is because the message resonates with people,” Hegar told CNN on Monday. “A lot of people across the country feel like they have absent representation and that their voices are not being heard.”
The video begins with images of her childhood and her dreams of becoming a pilot, which meant “opening, pushing, sometimes kicking though every door.”
“One of my first memories was of a door, but it was of my dad throwing my mom through a glass one,” Hegar says in the ad. “Three years later, mom got the courage to walk out the door, and she opened a new one for my sister and me here in Texas.”
Hegar, who is now married and a mother of two, served three tours in Afghanistan as a combat search-and-rescue pilot. She was shot down by the Taliban in 2009 and later awarded the Purple Heart. She became the second woman ever to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with valor.
“But after that, the door closed,” Hegar says in the ad. “Injured and unable to fly, I was barred from my next career choice because I was a woman.”
Hegar sued the Pentagon over the ban on women serving in all ground combat jobs.
The ban was lifted in January 2013 by then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and then-Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey.
“I think we need to elect people who are more reflective of where they come from,” Hegar told CNN on Monday. “My district has more veterans in it than 97 percent of the country.”
Cook Political Report rates the seat as likely Republican.
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