For Texans, early voting for the midterm elections begins in less than six weeks, and several former Longhorns are on the ballot across the state.
Six UT alumni currently running for office spoke with The Daily Texan about what inspired them to get involved in public service.
Governor Greg Abbott, Class of 1981
Abbott is currently campaigning for a second term as the 48th Governor of Texas. After graduating from UT, Abbott received a law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School and went on to serve three terms as Texas Attorney General before successfully seeking the governor’s office in 2014.
“When I originally ran for governor in 2014, I ran because I believed in the promise of Texas’ future,” Abbott, a Republican, said in a statement to The Daily Texan. “Since then, we have taken Texas to even greater heights. Business is booming, our communities are safer and high school graduation rates are at all-time highs. But I know that there’s more to do to keep Texas exceptional.”
Rep. Lloyd Doggett, Class of 1967 / Class of 1970 (J.D.)
Congressman Lloyd Doggett has been a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 23 years, and is currently running for a 13th term. Doggett was previously a state senator and a Texas Supreme Court justice.
“My involvement at UT as a Business School representative, member of the UT debate team, and later as Student Body President and on the Texas Law Review, played a significant role in my decision to get involved,” Doggett, a Democrat, said in a statement to The Daily Texan. “Consumer and environmental protection and opening up our government for greater public participation were key interests that I advanced to get elected as Texas state senator.”
Chip Roy, Class of 2003 (J.D.)
Chip Roy is the Republican nominee to represent District 21 in the U.S. House. He served as chief of staff to Republican Senator Ted Cruz and a special adviser to former Governor Rick Perry before jumping into the political arena himself.
“I’m running for Congress because it’s time for the American people to reclaim our God-given right to live free from government interference,” Roy said in a statement to The Daily Texan. “It’s time for genuine, proven leadership to fight for our children against a tide of government regulation, spending, and coercion that threatens their future.”
Julie Oliver, Class of 1998 (J.D.)
Julie Oliver is the Democratic nominee to represent District 25 in the U.S. House. Since graduating from UT School of Law, Oliver has worked as a lawyer and accountant in healthcare finance, and was appointed in 2017 to the board of Central Health by the Austin City Council.
“Right now we have elected representatives who answer the call of corporations, special interests, lobbyists, and PACs — not the people they are elected to serve and represent,” Oliver said in a statement to The Daily Texan.
Sri Preston Kulkarni, Class of 2002
Sri Preston Kulkarni is the Democratic nominee to represent District 22 in the U.S. House. After graduating, Kulkarni spent 14 years in the Foreign Service, the primary group of diplomats in the State Department working to promote U.S. foreign policy goals.
“I resigned from the Foreign Service to come back home and stand up for the things that I believe in,” Kulkarni said. “I think there’s a direct connection to my time at UT and the values that I learned, both with other students and through what UT allowed me to do, which propelled me into the Foreign Service but also drew me back to Texas.”
James Talarico, Class of 2011
James Talarico is a Democratic candidate for state representative in District 52 of the Texas House. At UT, Talarico served as the president of the University Democrats and executive director of Student Government. He received his M.A. from Harvard and became a school teacher before deciding to run for office.
“At UT I worked with some amazing student leaders to lobby our legislature to invest in higher education and make college affordable,” Talarico said via Facebook messenger. “That experience inspired me to fight for educational equity as a middle school teacher and now as a candidate for office.”