Updated: 2:10 p.m.
Miss America 2003 Erika Harold, announced she's running for Congress in Illinois' 13th district on Tuesday, and is the second former Miss America eyeing a Capitol Hill career.
From agriculture to criminal justice reform, Harold told CBSNews.com that her encounters with businesses and non-profit organizations as a lawyer and her grassroots movements as Miss America frame her campaign platform.
Harold, a 33-year-old Republican, will face freshman Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., in next year's primary.
"A lot of people share conservative principles but don't vote for Republican candidates because they have a certain idea of who those people are," Harold told CBSNews.com after her announcement. "I'm African-American, I'm relatively young and I'm a woman. I'm the kind of person who can defy those stereotypes and share what our party is really about."
Harold, a graduate of Harvard Law, is an attorney in Champaign, Ill., where she moved last month after working at a law firm in Chicago. While she hasn't held public office, Harold was a 2004 convention delegate for President George W. Bush and the youth director for Patrick O'Malley, a Republican gubernatorial candidate in 2002.
Harold has three days of campaign events planned, which began with a kick-off Tuesday morning in at Urbana High School in Urbana, Ill., the central Illinois city where Harold grew up. Harold's parents called the school to arrange the outdoor campaign announcement, Urbana School District 116 superintendent's assistant Lori Johnson told CBSNews.com.
"In my desire to try to invest my life in causes greater than my own self interest, the desire to try to leave the community around me a more just and humane place," Harold said her kick-off event. "I found the moments in my life when I felt most fully alive, and most in the center of what I felt called to do, is those moments when I focused not on myself but rather on meeting the needs of others."
Harold's candidacy follows reports that Miss America 2000 Heather French Henry, a Kentucky Democrat, might run against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. French Henry told the Courier-Journal recently her "decision will be made soon."
During her reign as Miss America in 2003, Harold advocated for sexual abstinence as well as violence prevention. Harold said previous anti-bullying advocacy will guide how she leads her "positive" campaign against Davis.
"You can disagree with someone in a way that's dignified and respectful," Harold told CBSNews.com. "I recognize that I face an uphill battle, but it's my faith that if you believe in something and work hard it can be accomplished."
She expressed interest in the seat last year after former Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Ill., withdrew from the race after being renominated. The state Republican Party ultimately selected Davis as their nominee.
"It's unfortunate that in today's political environment campaigns never end," Davis said in a statement Tuesday. "My focus has been and will continue to be on working hard in Washington and in Illinois for the families of the 13th district."