ROCKWALL – Former Air Force F-16 fighter pilot Scott O’Grady, who gained national attention and movie fame after his plane was shot down by Bosnian Serbs in 1995 and he avoided capture for six days before being rescued, has announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for the new District 33 seat in the Texas House of Representatives.
The seat will include all of Rockwall County and portions of Collin County, as a result of the redistricting process just completed. Rep. Jodie Laubenberg will no longer represent Rockwall Co. beginning in January, 2013, after the November, 2012, general election.
The primary election for the District 33 seat will be held March 6, 2012. O’Grady is expected to have competition from Frisco resident Scott Turner, Rockwall attorney Jim Pruitt and perhaps others.
He said he decided to run because he wants to continue to serve the public.
“I’ve been a public servant at heart; that’s why I joined the military and served our country for 12 years as an Air Force officer,” O’Grady said in his written announcement.
The son of a Navy doctor, the candidate served in the Air Force from 1989-2001 and the movie, “Behind Enemy Lines,” starring Owen Wilson and Gene Hackman, was loosely based upon his experience.
O’Grady said he moved to Collin County after retiring from the Air Force in 2001. Over the past 10 years, he moved from Collin to Dallas County to finish a master’s degree, and in 2008 he moved back to Collin County. He recently purchased a home in Frisco and a campaign office in Rockwall.
According to the candidate, he has been very active in Collin County and state politics since moving to Texas in 2001.
“I have been very involved in Collin County politics since I moved to Collin County, when I initially came here in August of 2001 to attend Dallas Theological Seminary,” O’Grady said.
“I became very actively involved in George W. Bush’s re-election campaign as a veteran surrogate, and since then, I have been a state delegate to two GOP conventions from Collin County, and I have also supported many candidates that are running for office in Collin County at a local, county, state and federal level.”
O’Grady added that he is now ready to represent citizens in Collin and Rockwall Counties in the Texas House. He said he has supporters in both.
“This is a unique opportunity,” O’Grady said. “There is no incumbent, and this is a brand new district and it is geographically diverse.”
“I have been active in Rockwall County, helping Republican causes there and candidates,” O’Grady said. “A lot of good friends in Rockwall County are supporting me, and I am very encouraged by this.”
O’Grady said he believes he will appeal more to voters in the new district because he has political connections in both counties.
“People know me. I’ve been very involved in Collin County politics, but then I’ve also participated in Rockwall GOP politics,” he said. “So there isn’t a candidate that could appeal to this district other than myself that has been intricately involved with the entirety of this district, with the diversity of the two different communities.”
The candidate said his conservative political views will help him win the elected position.
“This is a very good, solid, conservative seat that deserves a solid conservative like myself, who is both fiscally conservative as well as socially conservative,” O’Grady said. “I’m pro-life, I’m a former National Rifle Association board member and I think I will be a very good representative for this House District 33.”