Heather Ann Wilson

Birthdate: Dec. 30, 1960
Birth Place: Keene, NH, United States
Residence: Albuquerque, NM
Religion: Methodist
Gender: Female

Candidacy

Education

Heather Wilson was born in Keene, N.H., and lives in Albuquerque, N.M. She received a bachelor's degree from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1982. She served as a captain in the Air Force for seven years.

She was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University in England, where she received master's and doctorate degrees in international relations in 1984 and 1985, respectively.

Wilson was elected to Congress in 1998 and served five terms, stepping down in 2008 to run unsuccessfully for the GOP nomination for an open U.S. Senate seat.

Before her congressional career, Wilson served as secretary of New Mexico's Children, Youth and Families Department, which oversees programs for abused and neglected children and juveniles who commit crimes.

She is married to Albuquerque lawyer Jay Hone; they have one adopted son and two other children.

Profile

Heather Wilson is trying for a political comeback after losing a bruising Republican primary contest for the U.S. Senate in 2008.

She is running in 2012 for the Senate seat being vacated by Democrat Jeff Bingaman, who is retiring. Wilson cruised to an easy GOP primary victory over a little known challenger. She faces a tough general election opponent in Democrat Martin Heinrich, who represents the Albuquerque-area 1st Congressional District, which Wilson once represented.

Wilson has enjoyed broad support among Republicans in 2012, including conservatives who backed her opponent, Rep. Steve Pearce, in the 2008 Senate primary race. A national anti-tax group that year spent more than $600,000 on ads that attacked Wilson for being too moderate on economic issues. Pearce lost in the general election to Democrat Tom Udall.

Wilson avoided a divisive primary in 2012 after Lt. Gov. John Sanchez withdrew from the race and later endorsed her candidacy. A day after the June primary, the conservative super PAC American Crossroads started airing a TV ad that promoted Wilson as "an independent voice for change."

That theme is a centerpiece of Wilson's campaign, which is trying to portray Heinrich as a big-government liberal Democrat. Because Democrats outnumber Republicans in New Mexico 1.5-to-1, a GOP candidate needs support from independents and moderate Democrats to win in statewide races.

Wilson said the nation's top priority must be to "get our financial house in order," but acknowledges a pragmatic approach will be needed to solve politically thorny financial problems confronting Medicare and Social Security.

She favors lower taxes, reducing the government debt, expanding trade opportunities and increasing domestic energy production.

She opposes the 2010 health care reform law on constitutional grounds. "Obamacare does nothing to control the spiraling cost of care," she says on her website. "It raises taxes, cuts Medicare, costs more, and gives people less control over their health care decisions."

"I will fight passionately for what I believe, but I also am willing to seek bipartisan compromise if it means getting things done for New Mexico. I believe that Washington needs more independent leaders who are willing to take on both parties," Wilson says.

Democrats have indicated that they will make ethics an issue in the 2012 race, referring to her being named in 2007 as one of the most corrupt politicians in Washington, D.C., by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics. The group claimed that she improperly pressured the U.S. attorney about a corruption probe of Democrats.

In the House, Wilson was a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee.

As a House member, she has broken party ranks when necessary to keep in line with the moderate views of her swing district. She voted in 2002 to authorize President George W. Bush to use military force in Iraq, but later criticized the president's handling of the conflict and opposed his increase in troops in the war zone.

She served in the cabinet of former GOP Gov. Gary Johnson from 1995 to 1998, running a state agency that operated the state's juvenile justice system.

Her 1998 election to the U.S. House made Wilson the first woman from New Mexico to serve in Congress since Democrat Georgia Lusk in the 1940s. After losing her 2008 Senate bid, Wilson returned to New Mexico and worked as a defense industry consultant.

Source: Associated Press

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