Tonight as I bumped along a heavily rutted field moving hay bales in an elderly tractor that was threatening to overheat any minute, I was struck by the kinship I felt with a person I hope Stephenville will vote for Nov. 6: Julie Oliver, Democratic candidate for U.S Representative for District 25.  Tossed around in that tractor, I felt my sisterhood with Julie whose whole life story is about doing the necessary in the face of considerable adversity.

I was in that hay field in order to help my 93 year old mother who I knew would insist on driving that tractor if the work was not completed.  My brother, newly out of the hospital with his second knee replacement, hobbled outside to help switch out the plow for a hay stabber.  That is the way it works: each person helping the other because we simply understand necessity and value the person.  That’s Julie Oliver to her core.

Julie Oliver at 17 ran away from her impoverished home, dropping out of school, living in abandoned buildings and stealing to eat.  But she got pregnant and, in order to take care of her baby and herself, she returned home where she utilized Medicaid and community support and returned to school, ultimately becoming a lawyer specializing in making sense of complicated tax law.  She also became a health care advocate specializing in working toward health provision for the underserved.  She later helped her dying mom, who had earlier helped her, through years of a debilitating disease, seeing her mom to her last breath.  Hard times; need; support; goals.  Help that really helps.  Julie knows these things first hand and has used them as a north star in determining the objectives she will pursue as our member of Congress.

She knows the value of public education that raised her out of poverty, the need to protect teacher pensions and equalize education.  She has lived the vulnerability of health issues and thus strongly advocates for quality healthcare for all, including for women, vets, and rural communities.  She so strongly believes that politicians should not be owned that she has taken zero dollars in PAC/dark money. Instead she pledges monthly “listening” open town halls for her constituents’ voices.

Julie Oliver is a woman for our times, tough and compassionate, her voice of integrity singing personal growth, community, and the dignity and worth of the individual.  

Sincerely, 

Cathy Gregory

Stephenville