Bell County Democrats

District 31 Congressional candidate MJ Hegar is greeted Sunday by Sandra Blankenship and other supporters at the opening of the Bell County Democrats office in Belton.

BELTON — Mary “MJ” Hegar of Round Rock helped about 150 Bell County Democrats celebrate the Sunday afternoon grand opening of their new office in Belton, 104 E. Fourth St. She is the Democratic nominee for the 31st Congressional District opposing U.S. Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock, in the November election.

Chris Rosenberg, the Bell County Democratic Party chairman since 2016, described Hegar as a Purple Heart combat veteran who is outraising her opponent in political donations. Hegar’s video, “Doors,” has logged millions of views on YouTube and gained international attention, she said.

“I think she has an excellent chance of winning,” Rosenberg said. “She has demonstrated presence and available leadership, both in the military and in her campaign. She’s actively campaigning in the district and finding out the needs of her constituents.”

Rosenberg said Hegar has lived in the 31st Congressional District since she was seven years old, except for her service with the U.S. Air Force. Before retiring as a major, she served several tours in Afghanistan, and her helicopter was shot down while she was transporting patients, she said.

“The Bell County Democratic Party is very excited about the race, and we see unprecedented growth,” Rosenberg said. “We’re proud to be in the county seat.”

On the front porch of the new headquarters building, Hegar said she was glad to see so many people.

“Why is there so much enthusiasm and excitement?” she said. “It’s because we’re fighting for the soul of our country. I feel like we’re standing up for our allies, standing up for our children.”

The party will accomplish this one person at a time, Hegar said.

“I think pretty soon we’re going to no longer have unopposed candidates where there are no Democrats on the ballot,” she said.

Hegar invited questions from the crowd, and someone asked how she felt about marijuana.

“I am for making it legal in all forms,” she said. “I understand the impact criminalizing it has had. Speaking as a vet … it’s something that can help our veteran community.”

How can we end the corruption in Washington, someone asked.

“I’m excited about seeing vets — frankly on both sides of the aisle — running for office,” she said.

Until we have people like that running for office, she said, the way is going to be hard.

“The people who write the laws don’t want to write laws that will limit themselves,” she said. “Step one is vote out the people who’ve been there for eight terms and haven’t done anything.”

Rosenberg invited everyone to her house for a Wednesday night potluck and phone bank night. On Sept. 8, she said, the Democrats will begin canvassing the county every weekend.

“Democracy is at stake,” she said. “On Nov. 6, we have to take Congress.”