By John Celock
One of the first female Marines in fly in combat has kicked off her campaign to unseat a Republican congressman in Kentucky.
Democrat Amy McGrath, a retired Marine lieutenant colonel, used an announcement video earlier this week to outline her background in the military and to focus on health care. She criticized U.S. Rep. Andy Barr’s (R) votes to repeal Obamacare and also criticized U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) policies and for not responding to a letter she wrote him as a preteen about why women could not fly in combat.
“He’s Mitch McConnell’s hand picked congressman,” McGrath said of Barr. “He said he would vote enthusiasticly to take health care away from a quarter million Kentuckians.”
McGrath focused on her mother’s background saying that she was a polio survivor who was one of the first women to graduate from medical school at the University of Kentucky. She said that many of her mother’s patients would be people who would lose medical care if Obamacare were repealed.
McGrath also discussed how from the age of 12 she wanted to fly in the military and land on aircraft carriers. She said that she wrote a letter to her congressman about the then ban on women flying in combat and that he supported such a ban. McGrath said in the video that McConnell did not reply to her at the time. She said she also wrote to every member of the House and Senate committees overseeing the military to push for women to fly in combat.
Women were allowed to start flying in combat while McGrath was a cadet at the U.S. Naval Academy. During her Marine career, McGrath flew in combat and landed on aircraft carriers.
McGrath is seeking to the Democratic nod to challenge Barr in Kentucky’s GOP leaning sixth district. State Sen. Reggie Thomas has also entered the Democratic primary to face Barr. Barr has served in Congress since 2012 and currently chairs a subcommittee focused on monetary policy and trade issues.
In the announcement video, McGrath said that she wanted to embark on a new mission with her congressional campaign.
“This is my new mission to take on a Congress full of career politicians who treat the people of Kentucky like they are disposable,” she said.