In Houston, Democrat MJ Hegar goes after John Cornyn

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Courtesy of MJ for Texas

MJ Hegar, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, visited Houston Monday with a promise to unseat Sen. John Cornyn in 2020.

“We’re going to win this thing,” Hegar said to the Meyerland Area Democrats Club, about 200 of whom convened at the Texas Justice Center.

Cornyn, she said, “has shown that he would do anything to get re-elected. He’s in the pocket of his big corporate donors. And he’s paying a lot more close attention to what I’m saying than even the people in this room.”

“When I say things like ‘he’s in the pocket of big pharma’ he says, ‘we’ve got to reduce prices for pharmaceuticals’— and I’m like, yeah, you do. Go do it,” Hegar said.

Although Cornyn’s held elected office in Texas for more than 30 years, about 30% of Texas voters don’t know who he is.

Hegar’s bid for the Senate is joined by other lesser known Democrats, including Michael Cooper, Sema Hernandez, and Adrian Ocegueda. Amanda Edwards and Chris Bell, both of Houston, are considering campaigns. No candidate is widely known across the state.

Hegar’s pitch to the Democratic crowd focused on immigration, climate change — which she said is “the greatest threat to my kids” — and health care, a “top priority” in Texas. Roughly 4.8 million or 17.3 percent of Texans don’t have health insurance— the highest uninsured rate of any state in the nation.

Her near-deadly pregnancy and prior work in the healthcare industry have informed Hegar’s policy ideas. “I saw that the model was broken. I saw that even the industry recognized that the model was broken and that they, from a business sense, couldn’t sustain their owns costs.”

Stopping short of endorsing any one plan, Hegar said she would prioritize solutions that incentivize innovation, quality, affordability, and access. She previously told reporters she supported Americans having the option to buy into Medicare, but not a single-payer plan like Medicare for All.

In an interview earlier in the day, she told The Texas Signal she supports people keeping their own private insurance, if that’s what they choose.

Art Pronin, president of the Meyerland Area Democrats Club, which organized the event, applauded the candidate for “staying after to talk to every single person and hear their concerns and shake every hand.”

Hegar, a former Air Force helicopter pilot, talked shop about gun safety.

“I have used the weapons that we’re talking about for their intended purpose in combat,” Hegar said. “And I think that if you want to be able to own those weapons, you should have to go through the level of clearance, scrutiny, training, and screening that I went through— which is a lot.”

Hegar launched her campaign for U.S. Senate in April. In 2018, she ran for but lost — by 3 points, in a red district — a congressional seat in the Round Rock area.

In an interview with the CBS affiliate in Dallas earlier this month, Hegar was noncommittal on the much-discussed impeachment of President Trump.

“I don’t know how I would vote. I guess I would need to see the rest of the evidence. I haven’t talked to the leaders who are calling for impeachment. I haven’t talked to the leaders who are saying we shouldn’t impeach. Right now, I think we should be focused on unity and identifying the fact that the real enemies are outside of our country, not across the aisle.”


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