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Female veterans turn their focus to Capitol Hill

Amy McGrath standing in front of a fighter jet.
Screenshot of Amy McGrath's campaign video, "Told Me"

Alongside the record-breaking wave of women running for office this year is a unique class of candidates, the Associated Press reports: veteran women.

The big picture: Only 19% of the 535 members of Congress are veterans, and only four members are both women and veterans. Rep. Martha McSally told the AP that the small group reminds her "of a fighter squadron, with so few women."

  • The women running for office can speak to national security and veterans issues, and have proven to flourish "in institutions dominated by men."
  • Not being "tough enough" or "strong enough" are some of the traditional criticisms of women running for office from voters, director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University Debbie Walsh told the AP. But female veterans "kind of automatically get that kind of respect as leaders; it's well-earned," she added.
Quote"I flew 89 combat missions as a U.S. Marine. My 90th mission is running for Congress to take on politicians who put party over country."
— Amy McGrath, Kentucky candidate and first female Marine to fly an F/A-18 in combat

The details: Most of the female veterans running for office are Democrats, the AP reports, and several are mothers, looking for new ways to serve their country.