Texans are people with great stories to tell plus the time and skill to tell them well. It’s one of the things that I love most about the state.
In the political storytelling arena, some of the stories being told by Democratic officeholders and candidates for office are powerful personal stories of struggle and redemption.
Julie Oliver for #TX25
Let’s hear from healthcare advocate Julie Oliver, who is running again for a Congressional seat in 2020, after falling short in 2018 to the longtime incumbent in Congressional District 25 (#TX25), Roger Williams.
Oliver is fierce in her commitments and a totally down-to-Earth person from a humble background. I like to imagine what an incredible U.S. Representative she will one day become.
Candace Valenzuela for #TX24
Candace Valenzuela is running for Congress in #TX24. Valenzuela is a mother, an educator, and a lifelong Texan. She overcame incredible odds growing up, and she has since devoted her life to fighting for opportunities for others.
Valenzuela became the first Latina and first African-American woman to serve on the Carrollton-Farmers Branch school board. Now she’s running for Congress to stand up for all Texas children and their families.
Sri Preston Kulkarni for #TX22
I saw Sri Preston Kulkarni speak last March during SXSW and this guy has it going on. He’s also an excellent representative of the kind of person who lives and works in the new wildly diverse, international Houston area.
Inspired by a calling to serve his country, Kulkarni was commissioned as a Foreign Service Officer by Secretary of State Colin Powell. In the Foreign Service, Sri served tours overseas in Iraq, Israel, Russia, Taiwan, and Jamaica, promoting American values, such as women’s rights, a free press, and religious tolerance. He speaks English, Spanish, Hebrew, Hindi, Russian, and Mandarin Chinese.
Veronica Escobar for #TX16
U.S. Representative Veronica Escobar is currently serving in her first term in Congress. She ran for the seat vacated by Beto O’Rourke and she won.
I saw Escobar speak during SXSW in March, and she has a strong command of the facts and the room.
I like that she has power and knows to own it.
MJ Hegar for Senate
MJ Hegar rides again. In 2018, she ran for Congress but lost. Now, she’s running for Big John Cornyn’s Senate seat.
“Texas deserves a Senator who represents our values—strength, courage, independence and putting Texas first,” she argues.
Hegar also says she didn’t become a pilot on her first try. But she didn’t give up.
I’m looking forward to her bouts with Big John.
Kim Olson for #TX24
Kim Olson flew jets in the Air Force, served in the Gulf War and in the Pentagon. She has blazed trails in her career and for women for decades.
In 2018, she ran for Texas Commissioner of Agriculture (Disclosure: I worked on her campaign). No Democrat has won a statewide office in Texas in 32 years, and Olson did not win, but she moved the needle and gained a following throughout the state.
Olson says, “Now, I’m running for Congress because this President is attacking everything we fought for over the years. We didn’t choose this battle, it chose us.”
Elect Many More Women Now
Thus far, nineteen Texas Democratic women, have signed up to run for Congress in 2020, according to Federal Election Campaign data reviewed by the Texas Signal.
Texas currently ranks a mediocre 37th in the nation for women elected to office, according to the Center for American Women and Politics.
TBD for #TX21
I live in Texas’ heavily gerrymandered 21st Congressional District, which incorporates parts of Austin and San Antonio and just about all of Texas Hill Country. I regret to admit that our Congressman is Chip Roy, the Republican who beat Joseph Kopser in 2018.
Prior to Roy, the seat was held for 32 years by Republican Lamar Smith.
Thus far, former gubernatorial candidate and state representative Wendy Davis has yet to announce her intent to run for Congress, but it’s widely speculated that she will soon enter the race to unseat Roy.
Meanwhile, Roy is spouting off in defiance. “If the Democrats want to pile up a big pile of money in the streets of Austin and light it on fire coming after me, they’re welcome to do so,” he said earlier this week.