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CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE AMY MCGRATH ON HOW SHE’LL WIN IN TRUMP COUNTRY
By Rebecca Nelson, Cosmopolitan.com, Feb 13, 2018
Two days after the 2016 election, Amy McGrath was trying to teach at the U.S. Naval Academy, in Annapolis, Maryland. McGrath, who had flown fighter jets in combat in Afghanistan, was no stranger to a difficult mission. But now she struggled to explain what had just happened to the midshipmen and cadets in her U.S. government class. "I just was hurt," she says. "Who did we just elect?"
That’s when she remembered a business card she’d put in her desk and long forgotten about, from former U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, a Kentucky Democrat. Chandler had given a lecture at the Naval Academy two years earlier. He and McGrath — who also hails from Kentucky — hit it off immediately, talking about bourbon and basketball and horses. After the election, she found his card and wrote him an email. “You probably don't remember me,” she wrote. “I think I want to run for office.”
Chandler put her in touch with his former campaign manager, and last June, McGrath moved to the district he used to represent, the Kentucky 6th, to run for Congress. In August, she released a tour-de-force campaign ad about making her dream of becoming a fighter pilot a reality. Since then, she’s raised $1.1 million. Amid reports that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee pushed one of her primary opponents, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, into the race, she's on a mission to prove that she can win without establishment support.
AFTER IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN, PIONEERING WOMEN IN THE MILITARY SET SIGHTS ON CONGRESS
By Mary Jordan, Washington Post, Feb 7, 2018
In Amy McGrath’s pitch to voters in Kentucky, she wears a bomber jacket and stands next to an F/A-18, the fighter jet she flew as a Marine to drop bombs on Afghanistan.
In Mikie Sherrill’s political ad in New Jersey, the camera lingers over a whirring Sea King helicopter, like the one she piloted on Navy missions.
And in Martha McSally’s video announcing her run for Senate in Arizona, she is crouched in the cockpit of an Air Force fighter jet to underscore that she was the first woman to fly in combat.
Women who served in the military are running for elective office in greater numbers than at any time in history. Many broke gender barriers in uniform and say it’s time to make their mark in politics. For generations, military veterans who become elected officials have overwhelmingly been male and Republican, but these female veterans, many of whom served in pioneering combat roles in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, are overwhelmingly Democrats and critical of President Trump.
FROM ANNAPOLIS TO CONGRESS? THESE THREE WOMEN KNOW TOUGH MISSIONS
By Michael Tackett, The New York Times, Jan 29, 2018
NORFOLK, Va. — Elaine Luria commanded an assault ship with a crew of 400 that patrolled the Persian Gulf for hostile Iranian vessels. Amy McGrath was the first female Marine to fly an F-18 fighter jet, dropping bombs over Afghanistan and Iraq. Mikie Sherrill was certified as a Navy helicopter pilot only after passing an underwater crash simulation in which she was blindfolded, turned upside down, and forced to find the sole exit door.
Their military journeys began at the United States Naval Academy, where Ms. Luria and Ms. McGrath were plebes together when Ms. Sherrill was a senior.
Now they are on a mission that no female Annapolis graduate has accomplished: to win seats in Congress.
A powerful wave of political activism is animating women in the era of President Trump, stoked by women’s marches and the movement to expose sexual misconduct. More than 390 women are running for Congress, a record number, and they are overwhelmingly Democrats.
But the three Naval Academy graduates, all Democrats themselves, are offering something that breaks through — the kind of military credentials and academy service that have propelled men to office since the founding of the country. And they are running in swing districts where military service is likely to resonate and where Democrats must win to wrest control of the House from Republicans.
THIS DEMOCRAT THINKS SHE CAN WIN IN 'TRUMP COUNTRY' KENTUCKY. BUT WILL NATIONAL DEMOCRATS SUPPORT HER?
By Ella Nilsen, Vox, Jan 17, 2018
Marine Lt. Col. Amy McGrath could be a test case of exactly what kind of Democrat will be competitive in the 2018 midterms.
McGrath is a Marine Corps veteran and a political newcomer running for the Democratic nomination in Kentucky’s Sixth Congressional District. She’s making a bet that her anti-establishment brand will carry her to Washington in an election year that’s shaping up to be a Democratic wave.
“We have to have a new generation of leaders,” McGrath told Vox in a recent interview. “We have to get back to talking to the working and middle class; we have to have more women.”
RETIRED FIGHTER PILOT GUNNING FOR BARR’S SEAT: MCGRATH SAYS ANDERSON (COUNTY) KEY TO WINNING ELECTION
By Ben Carlson, The Anderson News, Nov 29, 2017
As a political candidate, Lieutenant Col. Amy McGrath (retired, U.S. Marine Corps) checks off most of the boxes that appeal to Democrats these days.
She loathes the proposed tax reform plan; is pro-choice and a firm believer in climate change; is OK with gays and transgender people serving in the military; wants to fix, not repeal Obamacare; says Congressman Andy Barr is a liar; and perhaps most importantly, opposes President Trump.
Just another liberal politician? Think again.
McGrath is a strong a supporter of the 2nd Amendment; became the first female fighter pilot in the history of the Marine Corps; describes herself as a fiscal conservative; and refuses to tie her campaign to big donors who would, in turn, want to control her and her message.
WOMEN WHO RUN: THE FIGHTER PILOT TRYING TO LAND A SEAT IN KENTUCKY CONGRESS
By Nicole Villeneuve, Brit + Co, Nov 1, 2017
Women Who Run is a series highlighting six female candidates currently running for office. Whether the roles they’re campaigning for are in local, state, or national government, they’re all proof that more women are getting involved in politics than ever before.
Amy McGrath has America’s attention. The retired Marine Lt. Col. launched her Democratic congressional campaign in Kentucky this past August with a powerful video that highlighted her historic achievement as the “first woman Marine to fly in an F-18 in combat.” The clip went viral, and while McGrath, 42, was already confident in her skills as a leader, she admits the reaction to the video was a surprise.
“I’m trying not to get a big head out of it,” she laughs as we discuss her campaign over the phone. McGrath, like many others, felt driven to action after the 2016 presidential election. She was nearing retirement after 20 years in the Marine Corps and, recognizing her privilege of time and resources, her lifelong sense of service to her country took over. She’ll run against Republican incumbent Andy Barr, who, as she says in the ad, “said he would vote enthusiastically to take health care away from over a quarter million Kentuckians.”
AMY MCGRATH HAS A BRACING MESSAGE FOR AMERICA: This Democrat running for Congress in Kentucky thinks American government is worth fighting for
By Francis Wilkinson, Bloomberg News, October 31, 2017
It’s easy to blame Donald Trump for much of what’s wrong in America. But give credit where it’s due. He's pushing people like Amy McGrath into the political arena.
McGrath, 42, retired as a lieutenant colonel from the Marine Corps earlier this year, moved with her husband and three young children back to her native Kentucky, and promptly began running as a Democrat for the Sixth District congressional seat occupied by Republican Andy Barr.
Her August announcement video, punctuated by a characteristic defiance of obstacles and images from her path-breaking career as a fighter pilot, brought in almost $200,000 in contributions within 36 hours.
HOUSE CHALLENGERS BUILD WAR CHEST FOR 2018
By Lisa Hagen and Ben Kamisar, The Hill, October 18, 2018
McGrath, a retired Marine lieutenant colonel, exploded onto the political scene this summer with a viral announcement video.
The announcement, which has more than 1.4 million views on YouTube, tells the story of McGrath’s journey to become a fighter pilot in the face of sexism toward women in the military.
McGrath parlayed that success into a huge fundraising haul of more than $770,000. A majority of that money came from small donors — she raised more than $400,000 in donations of under $200.
McGrath is the heavy favorite in her primary against state Sen. Reggie Thomas, thanks in no small part to the major fundraising advantage.
WHY I'M RUNNING FOR CONGRESS
By Amy McGrath
When I was a young girl growing up in Kentucky, I dreamed of being a fighter pilot. Women couldn‘t do that then, so I wrote my congressman, and he explained women were not allowed in combat roles. I wrote every member of the armed services committees and asked them to change the law. Thankfully, society changed, laws changed, and I was privileged to attend the Naval Academy. Four long, tough years later, I was commissioned as an officer in the United States Marine Corps, and my dream to serve as an F/A-18 fighter pilot came true. But the Academy and the Corps did more than teaching me to fly; they instilled values, a desire to serve my country and a code of conduct I will never forget: honor, courage, and commitment. I have lived that code for more than 24 years.
MCGRATH TAKES BIG FINANCIAL LEAD OVER THOMAS IN DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY TO CHALLENGE BARR
By Daniel Desrochers, Herald-Leader, October 16, 2017
Retired Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath jumped out to a large financial lead in the Democratic primary to challenge Republican Andy Barr for his Central Kentucky congressional seat.
In the first few months of her campaign, which was officially announced in August, McGrath outraised state Sen. Reggie Thomas, D-Lexington, by a seven to one margin, pulling in $771,532 to his $109,034.
McGrath’s total put her among the top fundraisers for the quarter, which ran from July to September, including other insurgent Democrats looking to take long-held Republican seats. Randy Bryce, the Democrat challenging House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, raised more than $1 million in the quarter.
MARINE, FIGHTER PILOT, WAR VET — AND WOMAN AND DEMOCRAT
By Eleanor Clift, Daily Beast, October 16, 2017
Marine Corps former fighter pilot Amy McGrath is running as a Democrat in a deeply red, middle Kentucky district, and she is doing something a Democrat in such a district would have been afraid to do quite recently: She’s calling for reasonable gun restrictions.
Back in 2013, four Democrats from red states like hers cast the votes that defeated background checks under President Obama, ending the gun safety agenda he hoped to enact after Sandy Hook, when a mass shooter mowed down 20 first-graders in an elementary school. But today, Democrats are more united on “common-sense” gun regulations.
McGrath provides a good example of how Democrats in pro-gun red states will proceed in the wake of Las Vegas, and the renewed calls for gun safety spurred by the latest mass shooting. She’s pro-gun, she owns guns, she’s a “double expert” in the M-16 rifle and 9 mm pistol but says she’s a “reasonable person” and we need a “conversation” about how to curb gun violence.
MARINE CORPS VETERAN VYING FOR CONGRESS
By Seth Littrell, Winchester Sun, August 9, 2017
A Kentucky native and U.S. Marine Corps veteran has returned to her home state with hopes of challenging U.S. Rep. Andy Barr for his Sixth District seat in the House of Representatives.
Amy McGrath, a Democrat, retired lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps and instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy, said progressive values were what enabled her to enjoy the career she did serving the country.
“When I was a kid I never wanted to be a politician,” said McGrath, who grew up in Kenton County and currently lives in Georgetown. “All I ever wanted to do was fly fighter jets and serve my country.”
HERE’S THE STORY BEHIND THE FIGHTER PILOT WHO MADE THAT VIRAL CAMPAIGN AD —
RETIRED MARINE AMY MCGRATH IS RUNNING FOR OFFICE TO TAKE OUT “MITCH MCCONNELL’S HAND-PICKED CONGRESSMAN
By Travis Waldron, Huffington Post, August 6, 2017
McGrath, 42, is now hoping a campaign of a different sort will find similar success. On Tuesday, McGrath announced her candidacy to become the first woman to ever represent Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District. Her announcement came in a two-minute online video that rooted her candidacy in her two decades of military experience ― and her fight to be allowed to serve.
CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE AMY MCGRATH BURSTS ON TO SIXTH DISTRICT SCENE
By Alfred Miller, State-Journal (Frankfort), August 5, 2017
Amy McGrath and her now famous bomber jacket are a bona fide viral sensation.
Since Tuesday, the video of the retired Marine Corps lieutenant colonel striding confidently in front of a fighter jet as she declares her candidacy for Kentucky’s Sixth Congressional District Representative has been viewed 1.1 million times on YouTube. That’s a lot for a district — the district to which Frankfort belongs — with only 561,000 registered voters.
What accounts for the strong interest in McGrath’s video? McGrath told The State Journal it has to do with an electorate tired of career politicians.
“I think Americans are tired of the of dysfunction that they see out of our career politicians — because it benefits them,” McGrath said in a wide-ranging interview with the newspaper on Wednesday. “Look at Mitch McConnell. I mean, here’s a guy who didn’t really care what was happening in the Obama presidency. He just wanted to be an obstructor.”
KENTUCKY COMBAT VETERAN AMY MCGRATH IS GOING VIRAL WITH A VIDEO ANNOUNCING CONGRESSIONAL RUN
By Jeffrey Lee Puckett, Courier-Journal, August 3, 2017
Amy McGrath, a combat veteran living in Georgetown, Kentucky, is going viral after she released a bold video on Tuesday announcing that she'll run for Congress in the 2018 election.
McGrath, who will run as a Democrat, has captured the attention of politicians, pundits and internet warriors who have ensured that her YouTube video will top 1 million views.
Stories about the video have been done by the Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, Esquire, and Huffington Post. MSNBC's "Morning Joe" aired the video in its entirety. Esquire's story was called "How to Make A Political Ad – And How Not To," comparing McGrath's ad to one from Paul Ryan. Spoiler alert: She was the winner.
LT. COL. MCGRATH RAISES $197K FOR CAMPAIGN IN 36 HOURS
WLEX-TV, August 2, 2017
(LEX 18) - Within 36 hours of posting her two-minute video announcing her campaign, retired U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Amy McGrath has raised $197,227 for her campaign.
RETIRED FIGHTER PILOT AMY MCGRATH RUNNING FOR CONGRESS IN KENTUCKY’S 6TH DISTRICT
By Adam Beam, Associated Press, August 1, 2017
McGrath is one of several military veterans to run for office as a Democrat following Donald Trump’s election last year. They include former Air Force officer Chrissy Houlahan in Pennsylvania, former Army Ranger Jason Crow in Colorado and former Marine Dan McCready in North Carolina.
But McGrath said she was not recruited to run by party officials.
“I want to make that very clear. I was never recruited by the Democratic Party. I recruited them,” she said. “I believe that veterans running for office is good for the country in general, no matter what party.
HERE’S HOW TO MAKE A POLITICAL AD-AND HOW NOT TO: Amy McGrath Knows What She’s Doing. Paul Ryan Does Not
By Charles P. Pierce, Esquire, August 1, 2017
A few weeks back, we pointed out that Randy Bryce, the steelworker and Democrat who is challenging Speaker Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny starver from the state of Wisconsin, for re-election in 2018, kicked off his campaign with one of the best political commercials you'll ever see.
Down in Kentucky, a woman named Amy McGrath, a former Marine combat fighter pilot, is taking on incumbent Republican Andy Barr in Kentucky's Sixth Congressional District, and her kickoff ad is pretty dope as well.
MCGRATH ENTERS SIXTH DISTRICT CONGRESSIONAL RACE
By Ronnie Ellis, Richmond Register/CNHI, August 1, 2017
FRANKFORT — Retired U.S. Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath made it official Tuesday, announcing in a two-minute video she plans to run for Congress from Kentucky’s Sixth District currently represented by Republican Andy Barr of Lexington.
McGrath, 42, grew up in Edgewood outside of Covington before spending 20 years in the U.S. Marines, becoming the first woman to pilot FA-18 fighter planes in combat and rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel before retiring June 1 and moving with her husband and three young children to Georgetown in Scott County.
EX-MARINE MAKES IT OFFICIAL: SHE WANTS ANDY BARR'S SEAT IN CONGRESS
By Daniel Desrochers, Herald-Leader, August 1, 2017
In July, after 20 years in the United States Marine Corps, Lt. Col. Amy McGrath packed up her things and moved back to Kentucky.
Tuesday, less than a month after the move, her campaign released a video announcing that she will run for Congress in the Sixth Congressional District, which is represented by Republican Andy Barr of Lexington.
“This is my new mission,” McGrath, 42, said in the announcement video, “To take on a Congress full of career politicians who treat the people of Kentucky like they’re disposable.”
The video highlights McGrath’s military service — particularly the obstacles she overcame to become a fighter pilot — criticized Barr for supporting congressional efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and highlighted McGrath’s Kentucky roots.
“I just feel strongly that we need better leaders,” McGrath said in a June interview when asked why she was running. “We need more people who care less about their own political future or career and we need more people who have been public servants in other ways to run for office.”
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK -- WHAT HOUSE DEMOCRATS WANT 2018 TO LOOK LIKE
POLITICO Playbook, August 1, 2017
MARK PUTNAM, the top-flight Democratic ad maker, has cut a spot for Ret. Lt. Col. Amy McGrath, who is running against Rep. Andy Barr in a solid Republican district in Kentucky. The spot tells the story of McGrath’s career -- she was the first female Marine to fly in an F-18 in combat and flew in 89 missions bombing al Qaeda and the Taliban. The ad has some familiar themes: Barr -- who she says is Mitch McConnell’s hand-picked congressman -- wants to take health care away from people, according to McGrath. But the spot also highlights another theme in 2018: House Democrats are especially interested in veterans jumping in the race. The imagery in this ad shows how they might employ military ties in the midterm.
“This is my new mission: to take on a Congress full of career politicians who treat the people of Kentucky like they’re disposable. Some are telling me a Democrat can’t win that battle in Kentucky. That we can’t take back our country for my kids and yours. We’ll see about that.” The ad ends showing her Marine dress uniform with all her medals, decorations and her personal sword, with the text “Amy McGrath: Democrat for Congress” on the screen. The two-minute spot http://bit.ly/2vohv5j
SHE’S GOT GRIT: LIVING HER OWN COURAGE FROM THE F/A-18 TO A BID FOR CONGRESS
By Shannon H. Polson, Medium, July 18, 2017
Amy McGrath has just retired from the Marines when I catch up with her on her way to Kentucky. She’s heading back home with her family in tow, and she’s not taking any time off, just about ready to announce that she is running for office in 2018.
Once you hear her story, it’s not a surprise that she doesn’t slow down. As a young Kentucky girl, the youngest of three children born to a father who taught high school history and a mother who was one of the first women to graduate medical school from the University of Kentucky, McGrath fell in love with fighter jets at age 12. The military was not part of her family history, but she had learned plenty of grit from her mother, who, after working as a pediatrician for a number of years found herself unable to walk when symptoms of childhood polio returned. Knowing she would not be able to continue her career as a pediatrician without being on her feet, when Amy was a young teenager, McGrath’s mother did a second residency to become a psychiatrist. That example of extreme determination and adaptability made a deep impact on McGrath.
MCGRATH STILL TESTING WATERS ON 'LISTENING TOUR'
By Ronnie Ellis, Richmond Register/CNHI, June 20, 2017
Amy McGrath, the retired U.S. Marine fighter pilot considering a run for Congress as a Democrat, won’t easily be pigeon-holed by political opponents.
That won’t stop them from trying, of course.
McGrath, who retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from the Marine Corps on June 1, is considering a challenge to Republican U.S. Congressman Andy Barr in Kentucky’s Sixth District.
ELECTION 2018: MCGRATH ESTABLISHES EXPLORATORY COMMITTEE
By Ronnie Ellis, Richmond Register/CNHI, June 1, 2017
FRANKFORT — Amy McGrath, the Kentucky native and FA-18 fighter pilot who is considering a run for Kentucky’s Sixth Congressional District, established an exploratory committee Thursday and said she will make a final decision on the race by July 1.
McGrath, who grew up in Kenton County, also said she and her husband, Erik Henderson, have purchased a home in Georgetown and plan to move back to Kentucky with their three young children later this month.
On Thursday, McGrath also formally retired as a U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Colonel and instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy. A native of Covington, she spent the past 20 years as a combat fighter pilot, Congressional aide, and instructor at the Naval Academy.
KENTUCKY DEMOCRATS EYE FORMER COMBAT PILOT AMY MCGRATH FOR BID AGAINST GOP REP. ANDY BARR
By Jeff Singer, DailyKos, May 1, 2017
Ever since he narrowly unseated Democratic incumbent Ben Chandler in 2012, Kentucky GOP Rep. Andy Barr has won re-election without much trouble in his Lexington-area seat. The 6th District backed Romney 56-42 and Trump 55-39, so it’s far from the most competitive seat in America. Still, 2015 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jack Conway won the 6th 49-46 while he was losing statewide 53-44, and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray carried it 52-48 while he was losing his 2016 Senate bid to GOP incumbent Rand Paul 57-43, so it may be gettable in a good Democratic year.
State Democrats have a few prospective candidates in mind to go up against Barr. According to state party chair Sannie Overly, Marine Lt. Col. Amy McGrath is considering. All McGrath would say is that, until she retires from active duty on June 1, she can’t comment. McGrath is a former fighter pilot who flew 85 combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and she is finishing a stint as a U.S. Naval Academy instructor. McGrath also worked as a foreign policy advisor to California Democratic Rep. Susan Davis, who spoke well of her to CNHI news.
FIGHTER PILOT MAY CHALLENGE FOR BARR'S SEAT
By Ronnie Ellis, Richmond Register/CNHI, April 27, 2017
FRANKFORT — Even as establishment Democrats back away from a challenge to Republican U.S. Congressman Andy Barr in Kentucky’s Sixth District, there’s a lesser known potential Democratic candidate with an impressive personal story considering the race.
Marine Lt. Col. Amy McGrath is a native of Covington who has spent the past 20 years as a combat fighter pilot, Congressional aide, and instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy. She plans to retire on June 1 and move back to Kentucky — and perhaps run for Barr’s seat.
KENTON NATIVE NAMED TO KY. AVIATION HALL OF FAME
Cincinnati.com, August 14, 2016
Lt. Col. Amy McGrath USMC, a Kenton County native whose interest in aviation led her to the U.S. Naval Academy, Marine Aviation, and the first woman to fly combat missions for the Marines in its front line F/A-18 Hornet aircraft, has been named to the Kentucky Aviation Hall of Fame.
Formal induction will be Nov. 12 at the Aviation Museum of Kentucky, Blue Grass Airport, in Lexington.
Visits in her youth to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, Ohio, inspired McGrath to pursue military aviation. Women were excluded from combat missions at the time.
This brought Amy McGrath, the middle school student who aspired to fly such missions, to write members of Congress about removing the restriction. She did not succeed, but her intent grew as she attended Notre Dame Academy in Park Hills. From NDA she went on to be part of the Class of 1993, U.S. Naval Academy.