Julie Oliver was born poor and grew up in a working class family in Ovilla, Texas.
At seventeen, she dropped out of high school and became a teenage runaway, but after her daughter was born, Julie got a second chance -- she was able to put herself through college and law school, before going on to work in healthcare, and then, as a healthcare reformer and advocate.
Julie's a political outsider who knows that big corporations and the ultra-wealthy have too much power in Washington, and who isn't afraid to stand up to leaders of both parties to do what's right.
Growing up in Texas
Julie was born poor and grew up in a working class family, right here in Texas.
She spent her early years in South Oak Cliff, in Dallas, but when she was 11 the family moved to the little town of Ovilla. Her mom was a public school teacher and cleaned houses to make extra money. Her dad owned a pawn shop.
She knows the struggles that Texas families face to maintain decent housing, healthcare, and steady work because she has lived that experience.
Julie (second row, far left) -- 4th grade, Mark Twain Elementary
Julie at 17, with her daughter Nicki
Julie often shares her story -- dropping out of school, living in abandoned buildings, and becoming pregnant at 17, before going on to finish high school with her baby daughter, putting herself through college and law school with a young family, and going on to a career in healthcare finance and nonprofit accounting -- because it is a story of everyday struggles that so many Americans have experienced in some way.
She relied on Medicaid for prenatal care, applied for Pell Grants, and was able to use the Earned Income Tax credit and work summer jobs to get through college. And Julie knows that it is the community who supported her that made it all possible.
Julie never intended to run for office. Her background is in taxation, and she spent her career in the healthcare industry, crunching numbers and doing the books for a large hospital system. She has 20 years of experience in healthcare finance and taxation, and she was appointed by the Austin City Council to serve on the board of Central Health, whose mission is delivering healthcare to low income Texans.
At Central Health, Julie was an outspoken champion for accountability and transparency, and for ensuring that Texas communities who have traditionally been underserved could get the healthcare they deserved.
But the healthcare affordability crisis we're facing in this country is also personal for Julie. Julie’s mom fought against a chronic disease for the last 15 years of her life. Julie cared for her throughout her ordeal. Her dad, a veteran, is fighting against his own health problems today, and Julie is making sure she’s there for him too.
Julie understands the importance of healthcare, and she’s seen the impact it has on those she cares about most. Her son, Brack, was born with a pre-existing heart condition -- which means that insurance companies could discriminate against providing him insurance.
With no insider connections, Julie ran two aspirational, 100% PAC-free campaigns in 2018 and 2020, driving over 80,000 miles, and garnering more votes than any Democrat in the history of District 25.
Julie and her dad, Gary.
It was the corruption and the attacks on healthcare that finally did it for Julie. When Congress came after healthcare for the elderly, for sick children, working Texans, and people with disabilities, all so millionaires and multi-national corporations could get a tax cut —- that's what lit the fire.
That's when Julie knew, and it's what spurred her two aspirational, grassroots runs for Congress in 2018 and 2020.
Fighting for change
Julie believes that if we're going to restore our democracy, we have to end the corrupting influence of big money, and that we have to change the way we do politics in this country.
For too long, politicians have used bigotry and fear to try to divide all of us, while they pocket huge donations from corporate donors in the for-profit insurance industry, the banking industry, private prisons, and weapons manufacturers. It's time for real change.
That's why Julie never took a single dime from any PAC, because she truly believes that it is the many, not the money, that can affect real change.
And it's why she continues the work of organizing and grassroots advocacy to this day.
Julie lives in Austin with her husband, Matt Oliver, five cats, a dog, and their kids.
Julie believes that everyone deserves a voice, and a vote.