The hope of Texas Democrats in Congress, and some who would like to be -- against substantial odds in Red-leaning Texas – is borne out by Marc Veasey and M.J. Hegar.
Veasey, 47, ((DOB 1/3/71)) represents a solidly Democratic District 33 that includes parts of Fort Worth and other communities in Tarrant County, and laps over into several parts of Dallas County.
Veasey spent eight years in the Texas House of Representatives before promotion to the newly created 33rd Congressional District in the 2012 election. It was one of four additional seats Texas got following the 2010 census.
He has been handily re-elected ever since.
In a recent column in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Veasey expressed hope, and some confidence, that a "Blue Wave" is in the process of sweeping the country, including Texas.
"My fellow Texans have sent a clear message to Republican leaders: You better watch out, because we’re coming for you," Veasey wrote. "We’re taking this country back. We’re voting you out, and we’re putting an end to your discriminatory policies and racial targeting.
"With more candidates of color running for office, and more Democrats on the ballot in Texas than we’ve had in 16 years, we’re fighting against the premise of Trump’s America, and we’re winning. One red district at a time."
Hegar, a former military helicopter pilot who lives in Round Rock, is one of the hopefuls – part of the significant increase in women candidates this election year.
She hopes to unseat Republican John Carter, who has represented District 31 since it was newly created before the 2002 elections.
Hegar, either 41 or 42 – her campaign website lists her birth year of 1976, not her birthdate – decided after the 2016 election that women like her needed to get involved.
Although an experienced combat rescue pilot, with three tours in Afghanistan, injuries suffered when she was wounded by enemy fire during a rescue operation, and having to crash-land her helicopter, she ended her career as a pilot.
With her piloting experience and her knowledge of aircraft mechanics, she applied to be a combat pilot radio officer – who should know aircraft capabilities, pilot radio language, and flying skills and tactics.
She was turned down because she was female. As a woman she had learned from her mother – who had taken her daughters and left an abusive husband when Hegar was seven – to push to end barriers that held back women in the workplace and in life.
Somehow, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) got wind of the sex discrimination against her. As a result, she became the named plaintiff in Hegar v. Panetta, a lawsuit that in 2015 resulted in the termination of sex discrimination in the military.
She and two dozen other women spent two weeks lobbying congress seeking policy changes. She says that gave her a sense of some of why Washington is so divided along party lines that it results so often in gridlock.
She said that among the congressmen who had turned her away was her own representative, John Carter.
So, after witnessing the travail in the wake of the election of Donald Trump, she decided that she would have trouble answering the questions from her children in years to come, "Mommy, what did you do?"
So she announced for Carter's seat. She won a four-person Democratic primary in a runoff. Her campaign produced a more than three-minute video capsuling her life story. It went viral, getting more than 2 million views and raves from campaign aficionados.
Carter, who spent more than two decades as a state district judge in Williamson County, just north of Austin, saw his new congressional district change shape over the years.
It was created in 2001, when Texas gained two additional congressional districts after the national re-allocation of districts following the 2000 census,
Initially, it stretched east to College Station. But in 2003, in a second redistricting, it was reconfigured to reach north almost to Dallas.
In 2011, redistricting after the 2010 census added four more congressional districts. The 31st was condensed to mostly Williamson and Bell Counties, including much of the Fort Hood military base.
But Carter, who will turn 77 on the Nov. 6 election day, has continued to comfortably be re-elected, never with less than 58 percent of the vote.
Hegar hopes, in this volatile election year, that she can change that.
Congressman Veasey, in his newspaper opinion column, said this: "If we bring change and diversity, from the state house to the halls of Congress, state Senate to the U.S. Senate, we’re going to be able to bring real change in Congress."
Maybe so. As Trump would say, we'll see what happens.