Chase Oliver jumped into the special election to complete the unexpired term of U.S. Rep. John Lewis to provide “more choices and more voices” on the ballot. As a Libertarian and gay man, he’s doing just that.
The first-time candidate for public office joins six other hopefuls in the Sept. 29 election. He’s the only Libertarian and just one of two LGBTQ candidates.
“If you elect me, you will have a friend in the Congress, you will have a voice in the Congress who will fight for you, who will fight for your issues, and who will not accept discrimination, homophobia, transphobia, or ignorance from those who are also serving alongside of me,” Oliver said in a new episode of Podcast Q.
“And I want to honor John Lewis for all the amazing work he did for our community. And I want to take that one step further and continue that message of freedom and liberty for all,” he added.
Oliver is hoping to fill the remaining weeks of Lewis’ term and become the first LGBTQ person elected to Congress in the state. Early voting for Georgia’s 5th Congressional District is underway and final balloting is Sept. 29. A likely runoff will be held Dec. 1, which means the winner will hold the office for a few weeks before the term ends on Jan. 3.
Oliver said that’s still enough time to make an impact. He wants to work on criminal justice reform, push for accountability for police through the Ending Qualified Immunity Act, end cash bail, improve healthcare, add LGBTQ people to the Civil Rights Act and end the country’s war on drugs and immigrants.
It’s an aggressive legislative agenda for any lawmaker – especially so for one with just weeks left in a term. In November, voters will elect a successor to Lewis for a full two-year term. That’s likely to be Democratic state Sen. Nikema Williams.
“I’m absolutely looking to support any kind of legislation that will help our LGBTQ brothers and sisters live a more free and equal life in our country,” Oliver said.
In the Podcast Q interview Oliver, a former Obama Democrat, also discussed becoming a Libertarian, protecting black transgender people, campaigning with masks and hand sanitizer, combatting HIV and breaking through to voters in the heavily Democratic district.
“At the end of the day, [Libertarians] believe in criminal justice reform. We believe in limited government that is answerable to the people. And we believe that everyone regardless of color, creed sexual orientation, deserves equal inherent rights,” Oliver said.
Listen to the podcast above and subscribe with your favorite podcast app.
(Click the timestamps to jump right to the audio)