In a classic ideological showdown over who will represent a swath of the North Dallas area, the race for Texas’ 32nd Congressional District is stirring national attention.
The Nov. 6 midterm contest pits incumbent Pete Sessions, a high-ranking House Republican and long-time free-market defender, against Democrat Colin Allred, a civil rights lawyer and former NFL linebacker who wants to bring new leadership to his hometown.
District 32 covers a portion of Collin County, but mostly eastern and northern Dallas County.
Sessions, 63, chairs the powerful House Rules Committee and has won every contest for the seat since 2004. But some observers say shifting demographics and a surge of energy among Democrats make this race a key battle in their quest to retake the House majority.
Therefore, observers say this contest could be the toughest yet for the incumbent (See more analysis).
Sessions said he fights for the conservative principles that brought the new companies and renewed prosperity to North Texas and the U.S., like cutting taxes and government regulation.
“Dallas, Texas is the entrepreneurial capital,” Sessions said. “Many companies have sought refuge in North Texas because of things like tax cuts.
“That is why I run as a Ronald Reagan Republican; I stand for a private-public partnership.”
The candidates’ views on health care aptly illustrate how they differ.
Sessions’ health care plan wouldn’t abolish the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (aka Obamacare), but instead, create an option for people to join group policies and receive tax credits to apply toward health care costs.
Sessions claimed Democrats, including Allred, favor larger government and more taxes to pay for it.
“The facts of the case are real simple,” he said. “It’s the Party of Nancy Pelosi vs. a free economy. Their agenda is to stop capitalism, and my opponent has sold the same message, and that is how he won the primary.”
Allred, 35, said he’s no enemy to capitalism. He applauds prosperity, while also demanding legislation to ensure equal pay for equal work.
“I believe our system created a middle class like the world has never seen,” he said. “My story is only possible in a country like that.”
Allred, a standout athlete at Hillcrest High School and Baylor University, was a Tennessee Titans linebacker from 2006-2010. He became a lawyer and worked for the Department of Housing and Urban Administration during the Obama presidency.
Allred said he understands economics.
“I support infrastructure improvement and job training — all things Donald Trump said he wanted to do,” Allred said. “That’s a pretty bipartisan view.”
But he opposes trade wars and Trump’s “tinkering with NAFTA.”
“Pete Sessions has done nothing to stop this, and that’s been nothing but bad business for our community,” Allred said.
Allred said he’d fight to defend and even expand the ACA.
“I think a lot of lives have been saved because of the Affordable Care Act,” he said, “and it’s really a big mistake to repeal it.”
On The Issues:
Allred: End wage discrimination; enact $15 minimum wage; get paid family leave; more job training; improve infrastructure; and extend tax breaks to small businesses.
Sessions: Secure energy independence; build educational opportunities; foster technological innovation; cut government red tape; expand markets, and eliminate government waste.
Allred: Protect and expand the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA); also, encourage Texas to expand Medicaid; and make Medicare available to all.
Sessions: Make the ACA an option along with “World’s Greatest Health Care Plan,” a bill to extend tax credits to families ($3,000 per adult, $1,500 per child) to help save for medical costs, and also the ability to join group policies.
IMMIGRATION / BORDER SECURITY
Allred: Protect “Dreamers” by supporting the “Dream Act”; hold employers accountable for “knowingly hiring and exploiting undocumented workers”; pursue a reasonable pathway to citizenship; and provide more training and tools for law enforcement.
Sessions: Create a fair and effective “guest worker program”; encourage citizenship through the current naturalization process, but with no “blanket amnesty”; expand “interior enforcement” and aggressively prosecute and deport criminal aliens; abolish “sanctuary cities.”
Allred: Expand background checks to all gun purchases; support “Red Flag” laws to help identify potential mass shooters, and restore the “Assault Weapons Ban.”
Sessions: Prevent erosion of Second Amendment rights; vigorously enforce current gun laws; and support legal concealed carry of firearms across state lines.
Allred: Pro-Choice platform: Says opposition to a woman’s right to choose is “baseless”; promises to work with Planned Parenthood to “improve access to quality, affordable health care.”
Sessions: Pro-Life record: Has supported defunding Planned Parenthood; ending taxpayer funding for abortion, and prohibiting late-term abortions.
OTHER SESSIONS PRIORITIES
Energy reform, tax reform, and fiscal sanity.
OTHER ALLRED PRIORITIES
LGBTQ rights, voting rights, and women’s issues.
— Compiled by Bill Miller