It’s a fraught time for these newly-elected members of Congress to come to Washington, including for Dallas Democrat Colin Allred.
Nine Texas freshmen were sworn into the U.S. House of Representatives last week. It was a celebration for all, especially Democrats who took back control of the House, and who elected Nancy Pelosi as speaker. But all this took place amid the partial government shutdown and President Donald Trump’s fight with Democrats to fund his border wall.
Allred defeated longtime Republican Pete Sessions to claim his seat, and says the shutdown isn’t what he envisioned for the beginning of his term.
“It’s not a very good start, especially for those of us who came here hoping to form bipartisan coalitions and pass bipartisan legislation to kind of move the ball down the field,” Allred says.
He says he supports border security, but characterizes the $5.7 billion Trump wants for the border wall as a waste of money.
“We have $100 billion that we spend a year, at the federal level, on infrastructure for the entire country. $5.7 billion is a significant chunk of that,”Allred says.
Allred would like to see infrastructure funding directed toward other needs, including in his own Dallas district, that would enhance economic growth.
As a new Congressman, Allred says he’s introduced a measure defending the Affordable Care Act’s provisions guaranteeing insurance coverage for those with pre-existing medical conditions.
“This … was the number one issue in my campaign,” Allred says. “We talked a lot about it. Everyone who came to my events, every question I took, the first question was usually on health care.”