8 Veterans & Ex-CIA Agents Explain Their Decision To Run For Office In A Must-See Video

by Joseph D. Lyons

The number of women running for office is way up in 2018 — and one campaign ad that's just been released shows how some in the wave of women chose to run. A group of eight women veterans and ex-agents running for Congress star in the new ad where they talk about how their military service inspired them.

The women come from almost all branches of the military — and the CIA. They also come from all corners of the country: Amy McGrath from Kentucky, Elissa Slotkin from Michigan, Mikie Sherrill from New Jersey, Chrissy Houlahan from Pennsylvania, Gina Ortiz Jones and MJ Hegar from Texas, and Abigail Spanberger and Elaine Luria from Virginia.

These U.S. Navy, Marines Corps, Air Force veterans and CIA alums explain together in the video — their words are spliced together — why the choice to run was made easier by their service.

The ad is filmed in a warehouse and starts with the women talking about their lives before they decided to run for office. They were combat search and rescue pilots, fighter pilots, Air Force captains, CIA analysts, helicopter pilots, and more. They've been to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Hegar has even brought home a Purple Heart.

"I bled on foreign soil for people to have the right to vote," Hegar, an Air Force veteran, says into the camera. "I started realizing maybe I should run myself."

The women run through many more of their qualifications and experience — being the first woman to fly an F-18 in combat, in the example of retired Marine Lt. Col. Amy McGrath — that have readied them for political service. Their mashed up message: "Before I announced my candidacy for Congress, I chose to serve my country."

They also share that it's their first time running for office — all eight of them. "This is the first time I've run for office, and come November 6, I will continue to serve the people," Spanberger, a former CIA agent, tells the camera.

If it seems like they have good chemistry on screen, it's not only because some of the women served in the same branches — some have become friends over the course of the campaign. "The first female Marine Corps fighter pilot to go into combat: that’s somebody you want on your team," Sherrill told Bustle of McGrath back in September.

The spot the candidates all star in was filmed for Serve America, a PAC started by Rep. Seth Moulton, a Dem from Massachusetts. The director Laurie David, said in a press release why she wanted to feature their common story.

"They have already served their country in the most prestigious and courageous way, they have already sworn to uphold the constitution of the United States and now they are choosing once again to serve America," David said in a press release given to Cosmopolitan. "We all have an obligation too to serve democracy and that is to vote."

The candidates make clear in the video that's what they're asking: your vote on Nov. 6. "Are you ready to serve America?" McGrath asks the camera. Then "VOTE" covers the screen.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story mischaracterized the public service of two of the candidates. The article has been updated to accurately reflect their former employment.