Most would agree that since Donald Trump was sworn in as president, Washington politics have become more poisonous. Working to overcome partisanship to pass legislation has now fallen out of favor, even during a pandemic.
Dallas Democratic U.S. Rep. Colin Allred said he’s trying to change that. During his two years representing Texas’ 32nd Congressional District, which covers parts of Dallas, Richardson, Highland Park and Garland, Allred said that he’s done his best to work with his Republican colleagues. His dedication to diplomacy earned him a 95% bipartisan score by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
“I’m proud of the work that I’ve done during my first term in Congress, and the way that we’ve done it,” Allred said during an interview.
But to restore balance to Washington, Allred believes that people need to stop electing toxic politicians.
Allred said his Republican opponent, Genevieve Collins, has proven during her campaign that she would only infuse Washington with more noxious fumes. He accused Collins of darkening his skin color in campaign mailers and of lying about his political record.
For instance, Collins claimed that Allred supported a tax increase during the economic shutdown, according to The Dallas Morning News. He didn’t.
She’s also said that Allred voted to cut police funding. He hasn’t.
Politicians who lie during the campaign trail will only continue to do so in the halls of Congress, Allred told the Observer.
“There’s no connection to reality there, but there’s also a deliberate attempt to mislead voters,” he said of his opponent.
We hoped to interview Collins about her political aspirations, too, but her campaign didn’t respond.
There are, however, kernels of truth to Collins’ misleading claims.
Allred said he does support Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s tax proposal, which would reverse President Trump’s cuts that benefited the country’s wealthiest individuals and corporations. Biden’s plan would increase taxes for people making more than $400,000 a year.
Rather than voting to defund the police, Allred supported a bill that would have provided $600 million for police funding during the pandemic, according to Dallas Voice. It was struck down by a Republican-majority Senate and from there, the two chambers agreed on a lesser amount.
Ultimately, lawmakers need to help rebuild the public’s confidence and trust in police, Allred said. By fostering positive relationships, it helps to reduce crime and keep cities safe, he said.
“In too many of our communities there is a lot of fear [of law enforcement], and we have to recognize that,” he said.
Since becoming elected, Allred has helped bring a new Veterans Affairs hospital to Garland, which he said serves 184,000 vets. He also said the move created 5,000 new jobs.
In addition, Allred said he worked to pass the business- and labor-friendly United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. Plus, Allred has worked to prevent the Trump administration from repealing the Affordable Care Act, he said.
Allred believes he’s right for this gig because of his Dallas roots. He was born and raised here by a single mother and attended public schools in his district, he said.
“I think I know what North Texas families are facing in this pandemic and in this economic recession that we’re in, and I’m going to work extremely hard and make sure that nobody’s left behind as we get out of this,” Allred said.
Should he be reelected, Allred said he will work to expand health care coverage and to decrease costs, especially for prescription drugs and out-of-pocket expenses. He said it’s unacceptable that even before the pandemic, 1 in 4 people with diabetes couldn’t afford insulin.
Texas already had the highest uninsured rate in the country, which Allred said has only worsened during the coronavirus crisis.
In terms of pandemic response, Allred said elected leaders should take the coronavirus crisis seriously. Making fun of people for wearing masks, as the president has done, will only lead to more confusion and harm, Allred said.
“The first thing – for our economic recovery and to save lives – is to tell the truth about this virus and to give people the tools to protect themselves and their family,” he said.
Allred would also work to divert more fiscal relief to women-, minority- and veteran-owned businesses, since he believes too much money has gone to those who don’t need it. Biden’s economic plan would help build the economy back better, he added.
There’s a lot at stake in any election, but Allred said he agrees with his former colleague, the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis, who said this Election Day is the most important in American history. To Allred, it isn’t just policy that’s on the line; it’s democracy itself and the nation’s identity.
It’s important that everyone get out there and vote, he said.
“We have a choice in this election to either come back together and try to continue to perfect our union, or to continue to go down this extremely dark path of just division and rancor and chaos,” Allred said. “I don’t think that’s who we are. I think we’re going to reject that.”
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