Longtime Texas dealer runs for U.S. House seat
Roger Williams took over his father's store in '76.
After more than 40 years as an auto dealer and five years as a minor league baseball player in the Atlanta Braves system, Roger Williams, 64, is running for Congress.
In 1976, Williams took over his father's Chevrolet dealership in suburban Fort Worth, Texas, which is now a Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram store.
Both father and son have been nominated for Time Magazine Quality Dealer Awards, have received honors from the Automotive Hall of Fame and were chairmen of the Chevrolet National Dealer Council, Williams said.
Williams, a Republican running to represent Texas' 25th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, is not a newcomer to politics.
In 2002, he was state finance chairman for U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and was Secretary of State under Texas Gov. Rick Perry from 2005 to 2007.
"When redistricting drew a district right in my back yard, I decided to run for Congress," he said. "I didn't think enough people were fighting for small business in Washington."
Williams is one of seven current or former auto dealers seeking Congressional seats. The other six are running for re-election in the U.S. House.
Jim Renacci, R-Ohio, first elected in 2010, co-owned a Chevrolet dealership that was rejected during the General Motors bailout.
Scott Rigell, R-Va., first elected in 2010, owns Ford and Volvo dealerships; he sold his Lincoln-Mercury store after he was elected.
Mike Kelly, R-Pa., first elected in 2010, owns a Chevrolet dealership.
Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., first elected in 2006, owns several dealerships but sold some of them while campaigning. His Dodge dealership was rejected during the Chrysler bailout.
John Campbell, R-Calif., owned one of the first Saturn dealerships but sold it, along with his other dealerships, when he was elected to Congress in 2004.
Bill Shuster, R-Pa., first elected in 2000, was the second auto dealer in Congress at the time. He sold his Chrysler dealership when elected, and is the likely next chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure committee, the National Automobile Dealers Association said.
Williams said he has no plans to sell his dealership, where his two daughters now work. He said his store sold about 1,300 new and 750 used vehicles in 2011.