Former Miss America Mallory Hagan is running for Congress in Alabama against a 16-year Republican incumbent, she announced Tuesday.
The 29-year-old Opelika, Alabama native is running as a Democrat, and hopes to unseat Republican Rep. Mike Rogers from his longtime hold on East Alabama’s 3rd District.
“Over the course of my childhood, I saw a strong, smart, intelligent woman — my mother — empowering young people around her, and specifically young girls,” Hagan said in her announcement. “Watching that in my childhood, and watching those people around me empowered by my mother, I learned, of course, from my mother and my father and my entire family, what it means to use your voice and to stand up for yourself.”
Hagan won the Miss America pageant in 2013 as Miss New York while she was living in Brooklyn. In December 2017 it was revealed that she was one of the many women slandered in internal emails by the former CEO of Miss America, Sam Haskell, who mocked the appearance, intelligence and sex lives of past contestants. In emails uncovered by the Huffington Post, Haskell said of Hagan, “OMG she is huge and gross.”
Until she announced her candidacy Tuesday, Hagan was working as a co-anchor at WLTZ in Columbus, Georgia. She said during her announcement that she believes her news anchor experience, as well as her work in the community as Miss America — she advocated for arts education in schools and ending sexual abuse of children — readies her for the House seat.
“I’ve seen firsthand how I — one individual using my voice on Capitol Hill — can make a huge impact,” Hagan said. “Being a part of Miss America was so much more than just a pageant and just winning something that night on stage. I spent an entire year fighting for the rights and for the funding for our child advocacy centers across America.”
RELATED VIDEO: Miss America CEO Offers Public Apology to Vanessa Williams as She Takes the Judge’s Seat 32 Years After Relinquishing Her Title
She also pointed out that the Alabama district is in need of change after having the same representative since 2000.
“For the last 16 years, this congressional district has been in a situation where many of its constituents do not feel heard, do not feel that their representative is listening, do not feel that they get a response when they reach out to their representative or that that person is not someone who is acceptable,” she said.
Hagan joins the record number of women running for office in 2018, which she noted in her announcement.
“I hope in joining the 390 other women who are running across the country, that we can make this the new norm and we can get rid of what has been the status quo,” she said.