Brainy Beauty Queen and Lawyer Erika Harold Announces Run for Congress

(Photo: Reuters)Former Miss Illinois Erika Harold (L) is crowned Miss America 2003 by Miss America 2002 Katie Harman at the pageant in Atlantic City, N.J. On June 3, 2013, Harold announced that she is seeking to represent Illinois' 13th Congressional District in Congress.

Miss America 2003 winner and Harvard educated lawyer Erika Harold, 33, announced on Monday that she is running for Congress and she has a lot to talk about on her second time around.

In her announcement via a video posted on YouTube, the GOP hopeful talked up her educational credentials, her involvement in social work along with her experience as Miss America 2003.

"I've learned that our lives are defined not by the titles we earn but rather by the service we render. And at each point in my life, I have sought to serve," said Harold in the video.

"Whether it was by defending religious liberties as an attorney, preventing youth violence and bullying as Miss America or doing prison ministry as a volunteer. I am now seeking to continue that service by running to represent Illinois' 13th Congressional District," she said.

Harold, who will challenge incumbent Rep. Rodney Davis in the GOP primary, told POLITICO, "I view this primary process as being very healthful to the party because we will be able throughout the campaign to debate the issues that are important to the party."

"I think he's a good person, and that's why I think in this case this can be a positive primary process where we can both make a positive case to the voters about why we can be a good representative," she said of Davis.

She also pointed out that she wasn't worried about any attention that might be paid to her beauty queen past. In fact, she embraced it as one of the things that qualifies her for political office.

"Being Miss America was an incredible opportunity to serve on a national level, where I had an opportunity to promote a national platform that dealt with preventing violence and bullying in schools, and I had the opportunity to go from community to community to motivate key stakeholders," Harold said.

In her second attempt at a Congressional run, Harold promised to advocate for fiscal responsibility, safeguarding constitutional liberties and promoting the agricultural and educational interests of Illinois' 13th Congressional District.

While she said many nice things about President Barack Obama, she raised concerns about Obamacare.

"I have a client that is a hospital, and they were trying to figure out how the implementation of Obamacare would affect their ability to hire and what kind of services they can provide and what kind of penalties they would be subject to, and it was difficult to find the answer for them," said Harold. "There's a great deal of uncertainty and oftentimes it makes hospitals and employers decide we just don't want to hire because [we] just don't want to deal with that."

A recent Washington Post report noted that no national or state holder of a beauty queen title has ever held national or statewide office. Miss America 1945 reportedly came the closest with a loss in a 1980 Senate race in New York.

In that report, Hilary Levey Friedman, sociologist and pageant scholar, said along with other beauty queens, Harold's effort is "a positive sign that women are now looking to be governor of Kentucky instead of first lady," making reference to the role of Phyllis George, Miss America 1971, who was married to Gov. John Y. Brown three decades ago.

YouTube/Erika Harold
Erika Harold Announces Congressional Run
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