Congrats Central Texas, Pete Sessions Is Your Problem Now

Pete Sessions in 1998, during his first term in Congress
Pete Sessions in 1998, during his first term in Congress Susana Raab
In November, North Texas made it clear that it didn't want longtime U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions wandering the halls of the capitol anymore, at least not on its behalf. Thursday, Sessions returned the favor, announcing that he's running for Congress again, just, you know, not here.

Sessions is moving about 80 miles south down Interstate 35 to compete for the Republican nomination in Texas' 17th Congressional District. Bill Flores, the Republican incumbent, is retiring.

"My goal is to work together to restore the Republican majority in the House and maintain our control of the Senate and White House," Sessions said in a press release Thursday. "My support for President Trump is unwavering and I will dedicate my time in office to help enact his conservative agenda.”

When Dallas voters gave Sessions the boot in 2018, he blamed North Texas' changing demographics. Presumably, he'll find the deep-red confines of Waco and College Station more comfortable.
click to enlarge Texas' 17th Congressional District - UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
Texas' 17th Congressional District
United States Department of the Interior

“What irony it is that that which we have built has also turned us into a larger metroplex that has gathered people from all over the country, including those from parts of our West who have come to Dallas and perhaps not really understood the true nature of Texas,” Sessions told the crowd at his would've been victory party on election night.

Yes, the true meaning of Texas: Chip and Joanna Gaines, Art Briles defenders and the place willing to give Rick Perry a college degree.

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Yes, the true meaning of Texas: Chip and Joanna Gaines, Art Briles defenders and the place willing to give Rick Perry a college degree.

Here's what you're getting, District 17, if you send Sessions back to Washington, D.C.:

During his stint representing Dallas, he was known as "Washington's most powerful anti-pot official" thanks to his work on the powerful House Rules Committee. He supports ending birthright citizenship and opposes a path to citizenship for those immigrants protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Sessions is also the man behind one of the most inappropriate earmarks of all time. In 2008, according to Politico, Sessions guided a $1.6 million earmark for blimp research to an Illinois company that had "no experience in government contracting, let alone in building blimps.

"What the company did have: the help of Adrian Plesha, a former Sessions aide with a criminal record who has made more than $446,000 lobbying on its behalf."

A member of Sessions' staff told Politico that Sessions supported the earmark because it would create jobs in Dallas. That wasn't true, the website reported.

"But the company that received the earmarked funds, Jim G. Ferguson & Associates, is based in the suburbs of Chicago, with another office in San Antonio — nearly 300 miles from Dallas. And while Sessions used a Dallas address for the company when he submitted his earmark request to the House Appropriations Committee last year, one of the two men who control the company says that address is merely the home of one of his close friends."

Flores himself questioned Sessions' candidacy when rumors began flying earlier this week.

"The feedback is that it's insulting to them that someone from outside the district would come in and tell them to stand aside while he attempts to jump to the front of the line," Flores said in an interview published Tuesday by the Austin American-Statesman.
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young