Editor’s note: The Times-Review submitted questions to each of the candidates in the Congressional District 25 race. Their answers appear as they were submitted in alphabetical order by the candidate’s last name.
Question: What prompted you to run for office?
Julie Oliver: As the mother of a kid with pre-existing conditions and as someone with 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry, I understand exactly how the healthcare industry has failed Texans, how we can fund it more equitably and responsibly, and how some in Congress have worked to undermine our health and wellbeing. Roger Williams has voted more than 50 times to take healthcare from millions of Americans, including cancer patients, sick children, the elderly, and people with disabilities right here in Texas. Rep. Williams voted ten times to end protections for people with pre-existing conditions, like the one my son has. So for me--just as it is for hundreds of thousands of people here in our district, whose healthcare is threatened by our own Congressman--this was deeply personal. I’ll fight just as hard for every Texan in Johnson county as I do for my son.
Roger Williams: This election is very clear – it is all about freedom versus socialism. I’m for lower taxes, less government and greater freedom. Nancy Pelosi and Democrats are not, and Texans reject their platform of big socialist government that stifles growth and potential. I’m proud to have helped create the strongest economy our nation has seen in decades by passing historic tax reform for every hardworking taxpayer in America, and I’ll continue to champion pro-growth policies, cut regulations and fight to protect your paychecks and tax cuts. As we rebound from the pandemic, I will keep rolling up my sleeves to provide resources for Johnson County—like the Paycheck Protection Program that saved over 58,000 jobs in the 25th District—to help Main Street America and our local economies come back stronger than ever.
Q: What are two or three main issues of focus if elected?
Oliver: Healthcare got me into this race in the first place. As the mother of an immuno-crompromised child with pre-existing conditions, I understand the importance of quality, affordable healthcare--and not just during a global pandemic. As someone who spent 20 years in the healthcare finance industry, I understand how to ensure every one of us can stay healthy without breaking the bank. Costs are too high, and I don’t believe anyone should go broke because they got sick. My plan will lower healthcare and prescription drug costs for all Texans, and will bring property taxes down by covering everyone. My plan would also eliminate waste and corruption, do away with co-pays, premiums and deductibles, and massively stimulate the American economy by separating insurance from employment—which would boost entrepreneurship and create more small businesses in Texas. As a member of Congress, I will protect people with pre-existing conditions--Roger Williams has voted to strip those protections. Roger Williams has continued to follow President Trump’s lead in downplaying the severity of this pandemic. I will take the virus seriously, base my decisions on facts and science, invest in healthcare infrastructure, and help the people of Texas’s 25th district recover from the pandemic and recession.
There is an urgent need to create new jobs and rebuild our economy for the long haul in Texas. Congressman Williams has overseen the worst jobs agenda in American history. We’re the only campaign with a forward-looking jobs plan,which Moody’s Analytics estimates would create 7 million new jobs and lead to 4.5% higher GDP. Our climate plan is also a jobs plan that will create thousands of good-paying jobs here in Texas in low-carbon emission generation technologies, solar and wind, energy efficient goods manufacturing, installation, building construction and retrofits, environmental remediation, forestry and agriculture . In the wake of COVID-19, these investments are needed now more than ever to ensure long-term job growth in emerging industries. By investing in clean energy—through American industry and manufacturing, infrastructure, skilled labor and new technology deployment—we create opportunities for upward mobility and prosperity by creating middle class and union jobs right here in Johnson county.
Lastly, we need to end political corruption and pay-for-play politics. As a political outsider who has refused all PAC money, I can’t be arm-twisted behind closed doors, and I’m not afraid to stand up to corrupt leaders in both parties. For too long, special interests and career politicians like Roger Williams have taken advantage of hardworking families while they use their office to enrich themselves. My opponent has used his position of power to serve his own personal business interests--securing more than a $1 million in federal PPP money for his car dealerships, then voting to keep the funds a secret. Even worse, when asked how much jobless
Texans should receive in unemployment, Williams said “for me, the answer is $0.” Williams was investigated by the House Ethics Committee for writing a bill that would have allowed car dealerships to rent and loan out cars that are under active safety recalls--a bill he wrote solely to benefit himself. Career politicians like Roger Williams aren’t spending their time helping expand healthcare access or creating new jobs in their district--they’re only concerned with increasing their own bottom line.
Williams: Texans in Johnson County are concerned with the safety of their families, the strength of our economy, lower health care costs and protecting coverage for those with pre-existing conditions – and that is what our message is all about. I’m fighting for safer communities by supporting efforts like the Patrick Underwood Act and the David Dorn Act to stand with law enforcement; keeping our Texas economy the strongest and best in the nation by passing the CARES Act and historic tax reform; and sponsoring legislation in Congress like the Pre-Existing Conditions Protection Act to protect health care coverage for those with pre-existing conditions.
Q: Anything else to add?
Oliver: Texas families are hurting right now. They need a champion in Washington who knows what it’s like to struggle and have the experience to solve the biggest problems our nation faces. I was raised by a single mom in a low-income family in South Dallas. My mom raised four kids as a public school teacher and cleaned houses to make ends meet. My dad is a veteran. In high school, I was briefly homeless and when I got pregnant at 17, I relied on Medicaid for prenatal care. I am no stranger to struggle because I’ve lived it myself and know how crucial community support is to breaking the cycle of poverty and desperation. I am a political outsider, running to truly serve this community and create opportunity for every member of TX-25. If elected, I will work tirelessly to ensure hardworking Texas families can get quality affordable healthcare, can get good-paying jobs, can send their kids to good schools, and don’t have to worry about whether their children will have a clean planet to live on.
Williams: As a small business owner of over 50 years, I am proud to serve as the voice of Main Street in Congress to stand up and fight for small business entrepreneurs, and the moms, dads, and grandparents who have devoted their lives to providing for their families and making their communities better.