Editor's note: Ahead of Martha McSally Senate announcement today in Tucson, her staff released her full speech as prepared for delivery. It isn't word for word what she said Friday morning, but it is pretty close.
The entire speech, unedited, follows.
"Good morning and welcome - I'm Martha and I'll be your pilot today.
It's so great to see all of you. I was counting on a lot of friends and wingmen to see me off on this journey. You've made it happen - I'm honored, and I thank you.
It's a big day, and to suit the occasion I've made my own travel arrangements. Whenever possible, I like to be at the controls of the plane myself. And, hey, it solved the problem of what to wear today.
Jay and Erin - thank you so much for helping to see me off today. Jay's Mom, Ruth Helm, was a pilot in World War Two, called a WASP, and a mentor and dear friend here in Tucson. And as Erin mentioned, her grandmother, Elaine Harmon, was also a WASP. And I was proud to make sure that she, and others like her, received the honor they deserved with a law that restored their right to be in Arlington. Erin, want to show the crowd your arm?
My ride this morning is the old AT-6, and that very plane was flown by the WASPs. It's a genuine piece of aviation history. I promised the owners I'd return their plane with a few more miles on it, no scratches, and an unused parachute.
To know some of those amazing women from World War Two, who served our country and broke barriers long before I came along, was a true privilege. Many of them were based right here in Arizona, and I can't think of a better example or inspiration for the mission that begins today.
We are in a crucial time for our country. The security of the United States, and so much else, will be on the line in these coming years. It's a time of big and defining choices. I recently made one myself, and I wanted my friends in Tucson to be the first to know. As of today, I am a candidate for the office of United States senator from Arizona.
And if you want to know my campaign strategy, it's three simple words from the old Air Force mission statement. These next ten months, I'm going to "fly, fight, and win."
For 26 years, at home and in six combat deployments, I had the honor and duty of serving this nation in uniform. You don't spend that much time in military service without knowing your share of struggle, uncertainty, fatigue, fear, and, at moments, fierce opposition. But I have been blessed to have some great examples and mentors to help me along the way. And no one ever taught me more than the first and best.
You will understand if, on a day like this, I think of my father. We lost him when I was 12. And many times I have wished I could tell him how much I love, respect, and miss him. His life, and his sudden death, touched me profoundly, and still does - everywhere I go, whatever I do. His example and loss propelled me on the path of my life of serving others and fighting for what is right. Today as always, before any other rank or title, I think of myself as the proud daughter of Bernard McSally.
One thing I learned in his absence was to live with purpose, and never to take time for granted. Each one of us has gifts to use and work that is meant for us. We have to step up when the moment comes, and sometimes it means taking a risk.
That's how I felt the first time I took off in the mighty A-10 Warthog, where all the planes are single seat - and back then, there were no simulators. I ran up the power over at DM and released the brakes, with no option of turning back.
That's how I felt when I was first given command of the 354th fighter squadron and was entrusted to lead them into combat in Afghanistan, accepting responsibility for the mission and the lives of my entire team.
Then there were risks of another kind, when I felt honor-bound to question rules that were wrong and unfair.
When I discovered at the Air Force Academy that women were not allowed to serve as fighter pilots, I said "Excuse me? Why Not?" I might even have said "Why the hell not?" And I decided to prove them wrong, by doing exactly what they said could not be done and serving our country as a fighter pilot.
When I was deployed to Saudi Arabia, I was handed the black cloak and scarf preferred by Islamic fundamentalists and told by my superiors to wear them to comply with sharia law. Let's just say it wasn't my look.
When it was explained that American servicewomen were expected to show subservience and put on the garb of a faith we didn't profess . . . that so far as we were concerned, American values could not be practiced in that country . . . again I said, "Why not?" And I pressed on through the courts and Congress for eight years until that ridiculous rule was struck down, and American women in uniform were treated with respect.
Whatever limits I might have, I don't sit quietly or scare easily. And when I make promises, I don't interpret them loosely. Should I take the oath as your senator, you can be certain of this:
I will give my all to protecting our country . . . and to advancing American leadership, and American values, in a world that needs them both.
I will speak the way we expect senators from Arizona to speak - candidly . . . maybe a little bluntly at times . . . always truthfully . . . and never in the droning, empty platitudes of the politically correct. They don't teach that stuff in fighter-pilot training, and I'm not about to learn it now.
I am running, after all, for a Senate seat once held by an aviator named Barry Goldwater. He set the standard for speaking directly, although I wish I could have been there for one of his comments about women in the military. He said, "We have enough trouble with women without giving them M16 rifles." . . . Who knows what Barry would have said about girls flying jet fighters?
In truth, Barry Goldwater was an advocate for military women, as well as being one of the greatest senators ever to serve. And like him, should I be deployed to the United States Senate, I won't just count the years of my term - I will make those years count, as your voice for change and an end to the same, sorry agenda of establishment politics.
America today has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to put our economy into afterburner to provide better opportunities for everyone. Last month, I did not hesitate to vote in the House for historic tax relief, and here's the best part: There is much more we can do to restore investment, revive entire regions, and bring jobs back to the United States.
Arizona, you have my word: On any issue of taxes, spending, regulation, and security, I will always be a voice and a vote for the working people of this country.
On illegal immigration, I have sought a strategy of control over that border by more agents, sensors, aerial assets both manned and unmanned, and every other effective means including a border wall.
And when I hear excuse-makers constantly complaining that the immigration laws of a sovereign nation cannot be fully enforced, a familiar question comes to mind: Why not?
When facing vicious cartels and the possibility of terrorists, a secure border is not just the people's right, it is the federal government's urgent responsibility.
My position is simple to state: There should be no sanctuary for anyone breaking our laws and harming our people - and no "sanctuary cities" for violent felons who do not belong in our country.
In the military, they work pretty hard on building discipline, cohesion, unity of purpose. And I know, politics is a different world. But I don't play along with the usual political games.
I don't campaign one way and then vote the other.
I don't pretend that avoiding a problem is the same as solving a problem.
I don't introduce legislation and pat myself on the back as if that means the issue has been fixed.
I maintain mission focus, and I don't get caught up in posturing and score-settling.
I am there for one purpose, and one purpose only - to get past all the games, face up to America's problems, and get things done.
When that's your attitude, you can actually bring serious people together and accomplish something. I have found plenty of allies in Congress to help reform the VA . . . to open up jobs for veterans . . . to keep the A-10 jet in service . . . and by every measure, to keep this nation's decisive, unanswerable military edge.
Not long ago, I was telling somebody about the A-10 Warthog. I described it to him as a badass airplane with a big gun on it. So big, in fact, that we used to say the gun was built first, and then the engineers were told, "Now go figure out how to fly this gun."
And it's not only big, it's reliable and precise. That 30-millimeter weapon zeros in on the enemy, and it has saved the lives of more American troops than we can count.
The man I was talking to that day was Donald Trump, and I am proud to have worked with our president in saving the A-10.
I am also working with the commander-in-chief to rebuild our military and defeat terrorists to keep our country and communities safe.
As your senator, I will gladly work with our president as he puts judges of excellence and integrity on the federal courts.
I am working with the one man who can reverse the unconstitutional executive orders of his predecessor, and has been doing it from his first day in office.
Whether it's moving our embassy to Jerusalem, or speaking plain truth at the United Nations, or getting serious about the border - which we discussed at the White House on Tuesday - this is a president who is actually focused on delivering what he ran on.
And when that's the goal, you better believe that I will keep working with President Trump to finally get things done for the good of our country.
I go into this race as a proud Republican - but even more, as a believer in my country. Challenges and differences can bring out the worst in us or they can bring out the best. And these days, whatever our political party, nothing but the best will do. I will be that kind of candidate, so I can be that kind of senator for Arizona.
If the campaign ahead looked easy, I'd feel out of my element. This is a statewide race with national consequences. And I'm going to run as if the balance in the Senate depends on it - because it probably does.
I'm going to make sure every voter knows who I am, what I believe, and what I have done in my life of service. I will run with heart, I will give my all and nothing less. I will speak to everyone, listen to everyone, earn the vote and take no one for granted.
In friends here and across our state, I've got wingmen and women as fine as they come. Stay close, because I'm going to need you. And yet I know that in the end it's on me. It is my responsibility, my mission, to see this campaign through whatever comes, to lead our cause all the way to Election Day. And I am ready. God bless you all, thank you - now let's go fly, fight, and win."