|Education:||B.A. and M.B.A., University of Texas at Austin|
Mary "MJ" Hegar announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate from Texas in April 2019. Hegar was the 2018 Democratic nominee for the U.S. House of Representatives for Texas' 31st Congressional District, losing to incumbent John Carter.
Hegar was born in 1976 in Connecticut and moved to Texas at age seven. She received a Bachelor of Arts in 1999 and an Executive M.B.A. in 2016, both from the University of Texas at Austin. While an undergraduate student, Hegar was vice wing commander of Detachment 825 AFROTC and deputy commander, Arnold Air Society.
Hegar was commissioned into the U.S. Force in December 1999. From April 2000 to March 2004, she served on active duty as an aircraft maintenance officer. After training as a pilot in 2004, Hegar served three tours over two deployments to Afghanistan between 2004 and 2007. On her third tour, she was shot down on a Medevac mission, and although injured, she and her co-pilot were able to rescue soldiers from an active battlefield. She was awarded the Purple Heart in December 2009 and the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor Device in 2011, only the second woman in U.S. military history to receive this medal. Because of the military's Combat Exclusion Policy, Hegar was both medically disqualified from flying and excluded from applying for combat positions that would have moved her military career forward. In 2012, she was a lead plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of that policy, and the policy was repealed in January 2013.
After leaving the military, Hegar worked as a trainer at Counterdrug Task Force from 2007 to 2010, as a program manager at Seton Healthcare Family from 2010 to 2015, and as a consultant at the Deli Company from 2015 to 2017. She has taught at the University of Texas at Austin's McCombs School of Business and at the University of Texas in the ROTC and women's studies departments.