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Updated Feb 6, 5:10 PM; Posted Feb 6, 5:03 PM
Former Miss America Mallory Hagan announces her campaign for Alabama's 3rd Congressional District seat at her mother's dance studio in Opelika.(Howard Koplowitz)
By Howard Koplowitz firstname.lastname@example.org
Former Miss America Mallory Hagan said Tuesday that her tenure as a beauty queen advocating for arts education in schools and awareness of child sexual abuse has prepared her for her next possible career: Alabama congresswoman.
Hagan, a 29-year-old Opelika resident who spent most of her life in the area, said she was running as a Democrat for Alabama's 3rd Congressional District seat because the House needs more representation from young women. Of the House's 435 representatives, 84 our women, and only four of those women are under 40 years old, she said.
"To not be represented both generationally and from a gender standpoint in Congress is just unacceptable to me," she said. "I look forward to working with the people of this state, of our district, and of our country to make the world that we live in a better place ... and I hope that in joining with 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."
Alabama's 3rd Congressional District encompasses a swathe of the eastern part of the state and stretches to include parts of Montgomery.
Hagan made the announcement from her mother's dance studio, Make Your Move, in Opelika. Hagan, who was surrounded by her family for the announcement, said she practically grew up in the studio, and that it motivated her to compete in pageants. Hagan quit her job as a news anchor in Columbus to campaign for the seat.
"Over the course of my childhood, I saw a strong, smart, intelligent woman - my mother - empowering other young people around her, and specifically young girls for the most part," the 29-year-old candidate said.
Hagan competed in Miss Alabama's Outstanding Teen and won Miss New York and later Miss America while she was a college student in the Big Apple. During her reign, Hagan was an advocate for arts education in schools, ensuring girls had a positive body image and raising awareness of child sexual abuse and child abuse. Hagan lobbied Capitol Hill with the National Children's Alliance and helped restore funding in the 2014 federal budget for the country's child advocacy centers.
"I've seen firsthand how me, as one individual using my voice on Capitol Hill, can make a huge impact, and I know that as a congressional candidate I will see how that can relate to several different things that are facing Alabama's Third District," she 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."
Besides what she viewed as a lack of diversity in the House, Hagan said she was also running because her likely opponent, 15-year incumbent Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Saks, has been in office too long and claimed he was unresponsive to constituents.
"Anyone being in a position of power for 16 straight years just goes against what our democracy is about," she said.
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