HuffPost Politics: August 7th, 2017; Meet the fighter pilot who made that viral campaign ad.
Amy McGrath knew when she was 12 years old that she wanted to fly fighter jets. She also knew that she wasn’t allowed to.
So McGrath launched an aggressive letter-writing campaign to lawmakers in her home state of Kentucky. She wrote to her congressman, who told her “women ought to be protected and not allowed to serve.” She then targeted Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, who never replied. Finally, she wrote to every member of the Armed Services committees in both houses of Congress. Most of them ignored her, so she tried writing letters to the editor for her local newspapers instead.
In 1994, when McGrath was a senior at Notre Dame Academy in Park Hills, Kentucky, the Pentagon lifted its policy banning women from certain combat roles. McGrath enrolled in the U.S. Naval Academy the next year, joined the Marines after graduating in 1997, and, while serving three tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, became the first female Marine to fly a combat mission in an F/A-18 fighter jet.
McGrath, 42, is now hoping a campaign of a different sort will find similar success. On Tuesday, McGrath announced her candidacy to become the first woman to ever represent Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District. Her announcement came in a two-minute online video that rooted her candidacy in her two decades of military experience ― and her fight to be allowed to serve.
“At a very young age I had to learn about how government works, and I had to learn about democracy, and I had to learn about advocacy,” McGrath, who is running as a Democrat, told HuffPost.
WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING?
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