By John Celock
A former Miss America has announced a challenge to an eight term Republican congressman from Alabama.
Mallory Hagan, 29, announced Tuesday that she plans on challenging U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers (R) in Alabama’s third district this year. Hagen, Miss America 2013 and a former Miss New York, enters the congressional race after playing a role in the ouster of the Miss America Organization’s top leadership in an email scandal late last year.
“I recently found myself at the center of a national controversy surrounding the Miss America Organization,” Hagan wrote on her website. “It was a painful experience, but it taught me a lot about the power of my voice. By telling my story, by petitioning for change, and by demanding resolution, I ignited a spark that fueled women – and men – across this country to stand up, speak out, and believe that when people share their stories, positive change can occur. I told my story. It was difficult, but it sparked meaningful change. This experience transformed me.”
Hagan joined with other former Miss Americas in calling for the resignations of the pageant’s top leadership following the revelation of emails from former Miss America CEO Sam Haskell and other top leaders with demeaning comments about Hagan and other former Miss Americas. The emails also suggested plans to block Hagan’s pageant consulting business.
In her announcement, Hagan touts her family residing in Alabama’s third district for four generations and notes that she moved to New York in 2008 in order to attend college at the Fashion Institute of Technology. While in New York, Hagan continued her pageant career. Hagan is now a television news anchorwoman in Georgia.
Rogers has easily held the congressional seat he first won in 2002. In Congress, Rogers has focused largely on national security and agricultural issues, including serving as chairman of the strategic forces subcommittee on the House Armed Services Committee.
If elected, Hagan would become the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, replacing U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) in that title. Stefanik was first elected to Congress at the age of 30 in 2014. Stefanik, 33, is the currently the youngest member of Congress.
Hagan is one of two former Miss Americas seeking to become the first Miss America ever elected to office. Miss America 2003 Erika Harold (R) is currently running for Illinois attorney general. Harold previously lost a congressional race in 2014.
Last year, Miss America 2004 Ericka Dunlap lost a bid for a city council seat in Orlando. In 1980, Miss America 1945 Bess Myerson lost the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate in New York. Myerson also served in New York City government as consumer affairs commissioner and cultural affairs commissioner. Cara Mund, the current Miss America, has said that she plans to seek the North Dakota governorship one day.
Hagan is saying that she has been a lifelong advocate for others, noting her work as Miss America and as a journalist.
“My whole life I have been standing up for others. From defending grade school friends on the playground when I was a little girl to lobbying nationally for children in our Child Advocacy Centers as an adult, I have always been a strong and passionate voice for others,” Hagan wrote on her website. “It is second nature to me. I’ve always believed that we have to look out for and protect one another.”