Texas, 31st District

MJ Hegar is a lifelong resident of Texas’ 31st Congressional District, absent only when serving her country in the military.

After graduating from the University of Texas, MJ was commissioned as an officer in the Air Force and later selected for pilot training by the Air National Guard, finishing at the top of her class. She served three tours in Afghanistan as a combat search-and-rescue pilot, saving the lives of her crew and patients after her Medevac helicopter was shot down by the Taliban. She subsequently received the Purple Heart as well as the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor Device for her heroism.

Upon returning home, MJ went on to become a fierce advocate for women, fighting to ensure that all jobs in the military are open for competition to both men and women. Working in Washington with Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle and partnering with the ACLU, MJ led the lawsuit against the Defense Department (Hegar v. Panetta) over its policy that excluded servicewomen from ground combat positions. Her effective change management tactics resulted in its eventual repeal.

MJ Hegar is one of Foreign Policy Magazine's 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2013 and one of Newsweek's 125 Women of Impact of 2012.