I consider myself to be a “good government progressive,” which I interpret to mean that I believe good government requires both parties to forge consensus when possible.
With that in mind, I am heartened to read a story in the Dallas Morning News about two freshman congressmen who have crafted a friendship along with a political relationship across the aisle. They happen to be from the Metroplex – Democrat Colin Allred from Dallas and Republican Van Taylor from Plano.
Here’s the cool part, at least it is for me and it should be for KETR-FM listeners who live in Collin County: Taylor is my congressman. He was elected to the Third Congressional District in 2018 to succeed the late and legendary Sam Johnson, another GOP lawmaker who had the horrifying misfortune of being held prisoner during the Vietnam War. He came home in 1973, eventually ran for Congress and became a legend in this part of the world and in Washington, D.C.
Allred defeated longtime GOP representative Pete Sessions in 2018 in what amounts to something of a “blue wave” in the 32nd Congressional District.
To be clear, I have been fairly rough on Rep. Taylor in my own blog – High Plains Blogger. While I do not regret speaking angrily about him during Donald Trump’s impeachment and later over his refusal to challenge Trump’s failure to confront Russian President Vladmir Putin about the bounties he allegedly put on American servicemen killed in Afghanistan, I am willing to rethink my overall view of the young man’s House service.
According to the Dallas Morning News article published his past week: “The thing I always appreciated about Van is that we have mostly the same end goal, even through we might not agree on every single thing about how to get there,” Allred said recently. “I never question Van’s motivations and we’ve become friends. And I think that matters, too.”
Taylor is reciprocating Allred’s friendship claim. The Morning News said Taylor called Allred in 2018 to congratulate him on his victory. The two of them pledge to work together now and in the years ahead on issues vital to their neighboring congressional districts.
During his re-election campaign, Allred touted his work on bringing an Veterans Affairs medical center to Garland and cutting red tape to facilitate the development of high-speed rail service between the Metroplex and Houston. He credits Taylor – a former Marine who saw service during the Iraq and Afghan wars – for his help in moving those projects forward.
They both say that if they could negotiate a COVID relief package that is hung up in Congress, the project would get done. Allred said he and Taylor have built a “basis of trust” in each other.
Well, you see, good government might be on its sick bed as we near the end of the Trump Era in Washington. It’s not on its death bed, though.
For that I credit the work of two young North Texas federal legislators for keeping the spirit of bipartisanship alive.
Well done, fellas. Keep up the good work.
John Kanelis, former editorial page editor for the Amarillo Globe-News and the Beaumont Enterprise, is also a former blogger for Panhandle PBS in Amarillo. He is now retired, but still writing. Kanelis can be contacted via Twitter @jkanelis, on Facebook, or his blog, www.highplainsblogger.com. Kanelis' blog for KETR, "Piece of Mind," presents his views, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of KETR, its staff, or its members.
Kanelis lives in Princeton with his wife, Kathy.