Julie was born poor and grew up in a working class family, right here in Texas. She was born in South Oak Cliff, and moved to the little town of Ovilla when she was 11. 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 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 debt-free. And Julie knows that it is the community who supported her that made it all possible.
Julie never intended to run for office. 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. In this role, Julie has been an outspoken champion for accountability and transparency, and for getting high-quality healthcare to Texas communities who have traditionally been underserved.
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.
So 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 she had to run for Congress.
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 Texans, while pocketing 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.
So Julie never took a single dime of any PAC money -- her campaign was 100% powered by individual donations -- so that when Julie said she would serve and represent this community, it was clear that she wasn't going to be in anybody's pocket.
Julie lives in Austin with her husband, Matt, three cats, a dog, and their kids.