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A spirit that is not afraid

Former Miss America considering a run for Congress

Hagan would be vying for the Democratic nomination and could potentially face off against Rep. Mike Rogers, the 16-year Republican incumbent from the Anniston area

In the midst of a recent national scandal, Mallory Hagan said she learned about the power of her own voice. Now, the Opelika native is considering a run as a Democrat in Alabama's 3rd Congressional District, which encompasses Lee County, for a spot in the U.S. House of Representatives.

On Monday, the former Miss America announced her potential candidacy on Twitter with a link to a CrowdPAC crowdfunding page to raise money for her campaign. Hagan would be vying for the Democratic nomination and could potentially face off against Rep. Mike Rogers, the 16-year Republican incumbent from Anniston.

Hagan grew up in Opelika and graduated from Opelika High School before going on to be crowned Miss America 2013.

She, along with and other former Miss America contestants, called for the Miss America CEO, Sam Haskell, to step down after derogatory, sexist emails were leaked. The emails discussed contestants' appearance, private lives and sex lives.

Hagan was personally discussed in some of the emails – some speculating about her having a sexually transmitted disease, others calling her "fat and gross."

“What we saw in these emails was despicable behavior,” Hagan previously told The Plainsman. “It does not matter what organization or profession you are in, that type of language being used in interoffice communication is just not OK. It is not OK ever, but it is definitely not OK in the workplace.”

Hagan said on her CrowdPAC page that the painful events that transpired with Haskell and the Miss America organization have changed her as a person – they've inspired her.

"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," Hagan wrote on the CrowdPAC page. "I told my story. It was difficult, but it sparked meaningful change."

As for what she plans to do if put in office, she said she'll address the many challenges facing Alabamians today. Everything from lost jobs due to factories shutting down like in Alexander City, Alabama, to people living below the poverty line in places like Talladega, Alabama – Hagan said she wants to tackle it all.

She also expressed her desire to do better for the people of Alabama than the incumbent has done. She wrote that she wants to get past partisan rhetoric in order to put the people of Alabama's actual needs first.

"Politicians in this area are more concerned with special interests than representing the people of District 3," Hagan wrote. "For the past 16 years, the constituents of this district have been ignored, deceived, and, at times, belittled. This is not leadership. We deserve better."

In 2016, Rogers was comfortably re-elected, defeating progressive Democrat Jesse Smith with 67 percent of the district's vote.

A representative for the congressman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

Hagan said she's been standing up for others her entire life – it started on the playground as a little girl, graduated to lobbying for Child Advocacy Centers nationally and, now, she hopes to continue by serving in public office.

Hagan declined to comment on this story but has said she would be making a decision in the coming weeks. The party qualification period ends Feb. 9, and the Democratic Party primary is scheduled for June 5. No other Democrats have qualified for the race.

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