Erika Harold, Former Miss America, for Congress? Cites Chuck Colson as Mentor

Erika Harold, former Miss America, is reportedly thinking about running for Congress in Chicago, Illinois' 13th Congressional District.

United States Representative Tim Johnson has decided not to run for a seventh term, which means Harold could run for the Republican nomination in the district. Senator Kyle McCarter has also decided not to run and will instead focus on his reelection in the Senate, which opens the door still further for Harold.

"I have spoken with some county chairmen," the 32-year-old hopeful has said, according to The News-Gazette. "This is not a decision that I take lightly. I would consider it an incredible honor and privilege to represent the area in which I grew up. I will be assessing in my own heart whether I felt that I was the best person to represent the 13th District. If I did, I would likely put my name forth."

Harold currently practices law at the Chicago firm of Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella, P.C. and serves on the board of directors of Prison Fellowship Ministries.

Through her work with Prison Fellowship, Harold reportedly got to know the late Chuck Colson, who founded the group. "He's someone who I would have loved to have asked his advice on his particular decision because he's been a mentor and a role model on the things that one needs to avoid if you're going to be an effective and honorable public servant. Being able to serve on the board and to get to know him has been an incredible honor," Harold explained to The News-Gazette.

The Angel Tree program, which Harold also works with, "is an outreach to children of incarcerated people. They're often a stigmatized population and especially with the work that I've done to help bullying, being able to reach out to these kids who are very much on the margins and don't have a parent there to provide guidance," she said. "For me, it's a way of putting my faith in action and being involved in an effort that lets people know that even if they've made mistakes there are ways to rehabilitate their lives and there are ways of being transformed."

Meanwhile, it has been announced that Chuck Colson, the Prison Fellowship founder and evangelical Christian who died on April 21 after struggling with an intracerebral hemorrhage, will be buried privately with full military honors at Quantico National Cemetery in Virginia.

The 80-year-old Southern Baptist, who served as an aide to former President Richard Nixon and was convicted for his role in the Watergate scandal in 1974, will also be remembered at a later service at Washington National Cathedral, RNS reported. During his military career, Colson served as captain in the Marines.

"There will be a public memorial service at the National Cathedral, pending working out some scheduling," noted Michelle Farmer, a spokeswoman for Prison Fellowship. "We anticipate that that will be in the coming weeks but no dates have been set in stone at this point."