Voters in Coryell and Lampasas counties, as well as a part of southwestern Killeen, have a choice between the same two people to represent them in Texas’ 25th Congressional District — Rep. Roger Williams, R-Austin, and challenger Julie Oliver, D-Austin.
This will be the second consecutive election in which they will choose between the same candidates.
Williams defeated Oliver in 2018.
The 48-year-old Oliver, who is from Austin, said she has focused her campaign on reaching out to those who have been affected by the coronavirus and securing cheaper health care for the constituents.
Health care is what Oliver said got her in the race; she has 20 years experience in health care finance.
“And no one should have to pay $300 for an inhaler or $1,400 for insulin,” she said via email Wednesday.
Oliver said that having a son with pre-existing conditions, she understands firsthand how the health care industry has failed Texans. She said, however, that her experience in health care finances means she knows how she can fix it.
After the coronavirus pandemic hit, Oliver said many district constituents lost their jobs, and if they had health insurance with the job, they lost it also.
“When COVID broke, we immediately shifted away from campaigning-as-usual and focused our efforts on supporting TX-25 however possible,” Oliver said via email Wednesday.
Support ranged from sending hundreds of thousands of text messages, thousands of calls, offering mutual aid, assisting with Economic Injury Disaster Loans for small businesses and picking up necessities such as prescriptions, she said.
“Our campaign stepped up to fill the gap,” Oliver said.
Oliver said actively helping those affected by the pandemic was part of an effort to affect real change by listening to the potential voters.
“Real change never happens from the top down, it is always from the bottom up, and we’ve been on the ground organizing in the district now for three and a half years — meeting Texans in every county, showing up everywhere and listening to everyone,” she said.
Overall, Oliver’s other top priorities are good paying jobs, fair taxes and ending political corruption, she said.
Although much of Fort Hood falls within the 31st District, represented by Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock, part of it falls within District 25.
Oliver’s focus for Fort Hood will be good schools, good housing, good health care and good pay.
She said soldiers should be paid more than they are now.
“A 2.6% raise in the (National Defense Authorization Act) isn’t enough,” she said.
Oliver also said soldiers deserve the housing improvements they were promised.
Oliver said Williams redirected $42.6 million of that funding to the president’s border wall project.
If elected, Oliver said she plans to serve on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and she also plans to co-sponsor the #IAmVanessaGuillen bill.
“There is clearly a crisis of leadership, and the job of Fort Hood’s Congressional representative should be to fight for *all* of those who serve on post, not just top brass,” Oliver said.
Oliver faces an uphill battle in finances.
As of the June 30 campaign finance report, Oliver had nearly $90,000 cash on hand, compared with Williams’ $1.26 million, according to the Federal Election Commission.
Overall, Oliver has raised $681,850, compared with $1.5 million for Williams.