Republican Nominee for U.S. Senate, Arizona
Editor's Note: This profile was originally published during the fall campaign season when McSally was vying for Jeff Flake's seat in the U.S. Senate. McSally narrowly lost that race. On December 18, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey appointed McSally to fill the late John McCain's Senate seat.
By Rebecca Horvath, Tennessee
Martha McSally has one of the most impressive resumes in America, but she’s not finished yet. Currently serving as a U.S. Representative from Arizona’s 2nd congressional district (Tucson area), McSally is running to fill the retiring Jeff Flake’s seat in the U.S. Senate – a high stakes, must-win race to maintain the Republican majority.
The self-described “purpose-driven” McSally brings unrivaled experience and energy to the table. After the sudden, devastating loss of her father when she was only 12 years old, she vowed she would live her life making him proud. As valedictorian of her high school class, she earned an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy and after graduation (as a Distinguished Graduate), went on to earn a master’s degree from Harvard, enter pilot training and graduate first in her class from the U.S. Air War College.
McSally holds the distinction of being the first American woman to pilot a fighter jet in combat. She was also the first woman to command a fighter squadron. Her distinguished 26-year military career also included six deployments to the Middle East and Afghanistan and work as a Legislative Fellow and national security adviser for Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl. She was awarded six air medals and a Bronze Star during her service and remains one of the highest ranking women in Air Force history, retiring in 2010 as a full Colonel.
After her groundbreaking military career, McSally was elected to Congress in 2014, where she’s built a reputation as a consistent, thoughtful and achievement-oriented leader. In only three years in D.C., McSally has written and passed 20 bills, four of which have been signed into law. She was ranked the 9th most effective member of Congress as a freshman representative.
A member of Tucson Republican Women, McSally credits Federated clubs with helping her win her congressional seat, explaining that local Arizona clubs were keys to her victory. “I won my first race by just 167 votes,” she said. “These clubs are why I’m in Congress today.” She is grateful for the continued support she receives and tremendous, positive experiences she’s had with Federated clubs.
As an Arizona resident with constituents in border counties, McSally has been a congressional leader in identifying security solutions; she strongly supports President Trump’s initiatives to strengthen the border. She serves on the Homeland Security Committee and is Chair of the Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee. As the only female veteran currently in Congress, she is uniquely qualified to serve on the Armed Service Committee. Her committee assignments reflect two of her top issues - border and national security and support of the military and veterans - with economic security also a high priority.
Now, McSally plans to bring her remarkable drive and determination to the Senate. Polls show an extremely close race between McSally and her Democratic opponent, Kyrsten Sinema. Though the winner will be determined at the state level, the results will have enormous national impact. “Support from around the country will help us put up the firewall to keep the liberal Democrats out of power," McSally said.
“I’m the kind of person who runs into gunfire, not away from it,” she continued, with a record that strongly confirms that statement. With a history of leaving things better than she found them, Martha McSally is ready to take the Senate by storm.