Former NFL player Colin Allred unseats Pete Sessions after two decades in Congress
Editor’s Note: The following article was written by Daily Campus reporter Michelle Aslam and News Editor Corey Obot.
After upsetting Republican incumbent Pete Sessions, Colin Allred is returning to Washington D.C. to represent his hometown as Congressman of the 32nd district.
Prior to Allred’s election, a crowd of Dallas Democrats gathered around the television for the Colin Allred watch party at the Magnolia Hotel on Nov. 6. They anxiously waited hours for Dallas County’s 32nd Congressional District voting results to be announced.
Once Allred’s victory was declared, the crowd was overjoyed and erupted in raucous applause. Some supporters cried, while others cheered and clapped. After winning a highly competitive race, many of them embraced each other and proclaimed: “We did it.”
“I am feeling elated. We’ve known for a while that Representative Sessions was not really representing the district, and we felt Colin represented somebody who could bring a breath of fresh air,” attendee Jim Harrison said following Allred’s victory.
After growing frustrated with Session’s lack of responsiveness to the local community, Harrison was ready for a change in leadership. “I know that what Colin said in his speech is absolutely true; he will be working for every single constituent in his district, whether they are a blue voter, or a red voter, or an independent,” Harrison said. “He will vote to represent our district and really, at the end of the day, that’s all that matters.”
“He will vote to represent our district and really, at the end of the day, that’s all that matters.”
Harrison, like many Dallas locals, chose to support Allred because he has made multiple statements vowing to prioritize the constituents of Dallas County over party interests.
In his victory speech, Allred reiterated his promise to protect the best interests of his district. “This win is a message to Washington. It is a message to everyone in Congress, in the halls of the White House that we are ready for real leadership, fresh ideas, we are ready for change,” Allred said. “I am willing to work with anybody, across any political aisle or any ideology if they are willing to help me bring what we need here in North Texas.”
“I am willing to work with anybody, across any political aisle or any ideology if they are willing to help me bring what we need here in North Texas.”
While supporters were cheering for Allred, a group of Union members and organizers marched into the room singing, “Solidarity forever.” One union member named Tony said, “a lot of politicians talk, but I want to see [Allred] actually work for working class people and not corporate America.” He appreciated Allred’s attention toward health care, but he wishes to see more from him than just an expansion of the Affordable Care Act. “You know, health care is really expensive” he said, “I’d like to see more from him.”
The Texas Organizing Project also showed up in support of Allred. They helped campaign for candidates by energizing minorities to register to vote. “We wanted to get minorities to vote. Historically, these people tend to turn out to the polls in lower numbers and we wanted to encourage them to vote because they need to be represented in this district too,” said Juan Carlos Cerda, a member of the Texas Organizing Project.
After defeating Sessions, Allred acknowledged the work of these organizations and thanked them for their contributions. However, he emphasized that their work is far from over. “Thank you to all the organizations who supported us, who did not get involved because they expected something in return, but because they believed in this community,” he said. “I hope that we can enjoy tonight, enjoy maybe tomorrow too, but then we’ve got to get to work.”
“I hope that we can enjoy tonight, enjoy maybe tomorrow too, but then we’ve got to get to work.”
Allred ended his speech with a powerful message about unity.
“We are all Americans and we are all Texans and, starting tonight, we start acting like it.”