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Birth Place: Tyler, TX, United States
Residence: Tyler, TX
Shirley McKellar was born and resides in Tyler, Texas. She received a bachelor's degree from Texas Woman's University, a master's degree from the University of Texas-Tyler and a doctorate from Columbus University.
McKellar is a retired U.S. Army nurse and founder of an East Texas nonprofit organization specializing in breast cancer outreach for black women. She also founded an early education community center focused on children from age 6 weeks to kindergarten.
McKellar spent 11 years on active duty with the U.S. Army Nurses Corps before retiring in 2009 with the rank of major. She was assigned to the 94th Combat Support Hospital in Seagoville, Texas. She was deployed for 18 months to an undisclosed location as part of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. During her deployment, she was injured and returned to the United States on temporary medical leave. She was hospitalized and upon her release was told it would take 18 months to be processed into the Veterans Administration system for continued treatment.
McKellar wrote to U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and with the help of Hutchison's office was able to enter the VA system within weeks. But McKellar saw a number of her fellow wounded veterans still struggling to get proper medical attention.
She and her husband, Danny, have two adult children.
Shirley McKellar has never held elected office, but she has worked on Democratic political campaigns since she was 18. She is running for Congress from Texas' 1st District and will face incumbent Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert in the November 2012 general election.
She says she was frequently approached about running for school board or city council in Tyler, where she was born and raised and still lives today, but was not interested in running for political office. However, her problems entering the Veterans Affairs system helped change that.
McKellar was injured while deployed to an undisclosed location as part of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Her injury enabled her to gain direct experience with the VA.
While campaigning, McKellar says she has personal and professional experience with the key national issues facing America today, including health care, education and the economy. She says there is a pressing need for more women in Congress, and that the country has to do a better job caring for its veterans.
Source: Associated Press
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