Dr. Wilson has been President of the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology since 2013 – an engineering and science university that is one of the best returns on investment for a college education in America.
Wilson has grown enrollment and increased research at the university while earning a reputation as a sound financial manager and accessible leader. From 1998 to 2009, Wilson represented New Mexico in the U.S. Congress, where she was a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and chaired the House Subcommittee on Technical and Tactical Intelligence. She also served on the House Armed Services Committee. Before being elected to the Congress, Wilson ran a large state government agency in New Mexico.
“Heather Wilson is going to make an outstanding Secretary of the Air Force,” said President Trump. “Her distinguished military service, high level of knowledge, and success in so many different fields gives me great confidence that she will lead our nation’s Air Force with the greatest competence and integrity. Our debt to America’s men and women in uniform is eternal. Their service is an inspiration to us all and we honor their service and sacrifice.”
“America and our vital national interests continue to be threatened,” said Wilson. “I will do my best, working with our men and women in the military, to strengthen American air and space power to keep the country safe.”
Wilson grew up in Keene, New Hampshire, and was in the third class to include women at the U.S. Air Force Academy. She graduated in 1982. She also earned masters and doctoral degrees as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University in England.
Her military career included serving as an Air Force officer in Europe during the Cold War. She served as a detached military officer on the National Security Council Staff under President George H.W. Bush during the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Warsaw Pact.
While those who care about national security and a strong military hail the Wilson announcement, those on the left despise her for being a conservative woman succeeding in what they view as a masculine-run organization:
“Wilson’s record on LGBTQ equality is abysmal. She consistently earned a zero rating from the Human Rights Campaign for her votes on LGBTQ issues. She refused to support federal nondiscrimination protections. She opposed expanding federal hate crimes law to add sexual orientation and gender identity. She not only opposed marriage equality and even civil unions, saying, contrary to all the evidence, that children do better with a mother and father, she also voted for a federal constitutional amendment to enshrine marriage discrimination in our founding document.” – Nathaniel Frank, author of Awakening: How Gays and Lesbians Brought Marriage Equality to America