A political newcomer and Army veteran is challenging the Republican incumbent to become the next state representative for the Killeen area.
Running as a Democrat, Keke Williams, 47, is a retired Army captain who lives in Harker Heights. She has a master’s degree in human resources management.
She faces Rep. Brad Buckley, R-Salado, who is running for reelection on Nov. 3 for the Texas House District 54 seat, which represents part of Bell County and Lampasas County.
So, who is Williams?
“I was born in Tampa, Florida, to a teenage mother (15 years old); therefore, I was raised by my Grandmother along with her eight kids. We resided in the College Hill Housing Projects, a low-income family dwelling,” Williams said in an email response to Herald questions last week.
Williams came to the Killeen-Fort Hood area through the Army when she was chosen as the reception detachment commander for Fort Hood’s garrison command by Col. Todd Fox.
“I served under the leadership authority of Col. Todd Fox and Col. Hank Perry,” Williams said, referring to the former Fort Hood garrison commanders.
Although Williams has never run for political office before, she is excited for the opportunity.
“I stand motivated and ready to become our next state representative for House District 54! I have been asked countless times why are you running to become state representative? I do it for the People,” she said.
She responded in an email late Thursday night about what her priorities will be if she is elected to House District 54.
“I entered the race to become a voice for the people and families in our community, not special interests. After becoming more familiar with state legislation, I learned that many of the decisions do not represent the people of House District 54 and caused hardship to our citizens and community. I served our country in the U.S. Army for 24 years; I think we need politicians who are willing to put party politics aside and come together to solve big problems facing our state and our community,” Williams said. “If elected state representative, my top priorities will be making sure everyone in our community has access to affordable healthcare, to support public education, whether our kids are in school or learning remotely at home, crack down on payday lenders who prey on soldiers and the Fort Hood community, criminal justice reform, voters rights/gerrymandering, and to bring good jobs, higher wages and job training to central Texas.”
Williams went into detail about how her campaign has gone during the coronavirus pandemic.
“My heart, prayers and condolences go out to those families who have lost loved ones,” Williams said. “During the pandemic, I am taking advantage of staying connected with the communities throughout my district through social media platforms, as well as, online meetings. One of the greatest initiatives I’ve been a part of during this pandemic centers around delivering meals to senior citizens and disabled veterans within our communities and fulfilling my role as an aspiring state leader passing out food packages during food drives and making it easier for citizens to ensure they are registered to vote.”
Williams has been endorsed by former President Barack Obama in her race against Buckley, and posted an image of the endorsement on her election Facebook page.
“President Obama elected to endorse a select number of legislative candidates in Texas whom he believes would make a difference for our state and our country. I feel this endorsement was made possible because I made my commitment, and my desire to be a people’s candidate strong, and unwavering with grace, humanity and empathy; especially during a new normalized way of living and working. It’s very empowering and uplifting to be supported and recognized by such an amazingly presidential world leader. I am honored that he is supporting my campaign,” Williams said.
The following Twitter message was sent by Obama on Aug. 3, along with a list of candidates he has endorsed, including Williams: "I’m proud to endorse this diverse and hopeful collection of thoughtful, empathetic, and highly qualified Democrats. If you’re in one of their districts or states, make sure you vote for them this fall. And if you can, vote early—by mail or in person."
There were around 30 candidates in Texas and Virginia who received Obama’s endorsement.
Finally, Williams wants voters to know that she will be committed to the position if elected.
“I am ready to become the first female veteran to serve in the Texas House of Representatives,” she said. “There will be no additional job for me other than the Office for which I build or obtain as the state representative of House District 54, 365 days of the year to uphold/defend, safeguard, and sustain Our Lone Star State of Texas.”