Colin Allred and Pete Sessions clash over role of government at public forum

The candidates for congressional representative of Texas’ 32nd district, Democratic nominee Colin Allred and Republican incumbent Pete Sessions, participated in a public forum on the morning of Thursday, Oct 25.

The forum was moderated by Scott Orr, Chairman of the North Texas Commission, and hosted by the League of Women Voters and North Dallas Chamber of Commerce.

The Role of Government

Rep Pete Sessions has been representing Texas’ 32nd district since 2003. He is running on a platform built on a historically pro-business record, claiming, “I want Dallas to be the epicenter of freedom and opportunity.” Sessions’ challenger, Democratic candidate Colin Allred, is an attorney and former NFL player who hopes to appeal to more progressive voters that oppose corporate special interests.


The issue of healthcare highlighted the candidates stark ideological differences on the role of government. Allred claimed Sessions had “voted over 50 times to repeal the ACA” with no plan to replace it, suggesting Sessions was putting millions of Americans at risk. Instead, Allred advocates for a healthcare system that would “allow access to low-cost, quality government healthcare” by protecting the Affordable Care Act and expanding Medicaid.

Pete Sessions emphasized his healthcare plan would allow for business competition. He said, “the affordable care act was not about healthcare, it was about limiting the free enterprise system.” It is a system that Sessions is dedicated to defending.

Social Security

Sessions took a similar stance on social security. He said, “If you do not need the government, you should not have to count on the government.” He suggested there were millions of people who could “take care of themself [sic].”

Allred emphasized Sessions’ support to privatize social security meant voters’ ability to retire with dignity is on the ballot.


On immigration, Sessions said, “We have got to take care of people who are in our country.” He underscored the need to control immigration at the border. Allred agreed securing the border should be a priority, but he strongly criticized the idea of building a wall.

Gun Violence

Allred believes gun violence is a public health crisis, and urges the adoption of universal background checks. Sessions instead pointed to mental health as the issue, which Allred argued would not explain the dramatic difference in gun violence between the U.S. and other developed countries.