Even though Colin Allred retired from his NFL linebacking days, he is still a force to be reckoned with. But now instead of on the gridiron, it’s at the polls and in the hallowed halls of the U.S. Capitol. Next year, the three-term Congressman representing the 32nd district in Texas will be going head to head against Ted Cruz in the race for U.S. Senate.
As we gear up for the next election cycle, ESSENCE had a chance to sit down with Rep. Allred to discuss what inspired him to run for office and why he believes he’s the best person for the job.
The civil rights attorney shared how the election of 2016 was a watershed moment for him, saying “I looked around and was trying to decide how I could best serve my country.”
Well, Allred didn’t have to look far. “There was a congressman who represented the district where I was born and raised, where my family lived, where I was called home, who was a 22-year incumbent. He’d been unopposed in 2016,” Allred recalled. “I felt like he didn’t reflect the community that I knew and had grown up in. I believed that given a choice, we would go in a different direction, and so I decided to run against him.”
However, the odds were not in his favor. Allred shared how two months before the election, one political poll gave him less than 10% odds of winning the race. But Allred refused to give up, and he ended up victorious.
Now a three-term Congressman, Allred has set his sights on running for Senate to “help Texas move in a different direction.”
“We can’t afford six more years of Ted Cruz representing us in the Senate,” said Allred. “We can’t count on him to be there for us in a crisis.”
“If folks are wondering how did we get to this place, where politically it seems like it’s as bad as it’s ever been,” Allred believes “it’s because of folks like Ted Cruz, who have taken advantage of this era of hyper partisan politics to make a name for themselves by pitting Americans against each other.”
“But from my football career, I know that we’re not as different or as far apart as you might think from watching cable news or scrolling online,” Allred stated. “But we’re just at a point now where I don’t think we can afford it anymore. We have to go in a very different direction.”
“Ted Cruz is our problem but he’s also problem if you’re outside of Texas. He’s somebody who has been one of the most divisive figures in the country. For the first time in American history, we didn’t have a peaceful transfer of power. It’s because of Ted Cruz,” Allred said.
“As Texans we have to make sure that we get a Senator who cares about us and actually help us deal with our issues in Texas,” Allred said. “But as Americans, we also have to make sure that somebody like that doesn’t get reelected, and that in this country attacking our democracy has consequences. This election is going to be about our future. It’s going to be about the senator who represents us until 2030.”
Allred wants to ensure that people know his story “growing up as a fourth generation Texan, being raised by a single mother school teacher, who received a scholarship to Baylor University to play in the NFL, to then becoming a civil rights lawyer and serving in the Obama administration.”
Texas “gave me a chance to chase my version of the American dream. And now I want to give back to the state that’s given me so much,” emphasized Allred.