By Brooke Hill | Staff Writer
Baylor football grad and former Tennessee Titan player Colin Allred is now running for a seat in the in the 32nd Congressional District.
This district serves part of North Dallas. In fact, it is the same district that serves Hillcrest High School, Allred’s alma mater. Allred came to Baylor not completely sure of what he wanted to do with his college career, other than football.
“I arrived at Baylor not knowing really much about it … I got to Baylor and it was kind of a culture shock for me,” Allred said.
During his time at Baylor, Allred eventually figured out that he wanted to major in history and go to law school. He had already taken his LSAT and done well on it when he started getting calls from NFL recruiters. Once he realized they were serious about his potential, he deferred his acceptance from the University of California, Berkeley Law School for two years before being told that he would just need to reapply when he got done with football.
“I was somebody who wasn’t really supposed to make it in the NFL … In a lot of ways, I had to draw on my experiences at Baylor and overcoming initial adversity to focus on making the team,” Allred said. “I was always the guy who wanted to be good at everything. I was a versatile player … that’s how I ended up sticking around in the NFL.”
In 2013, he became a 30-year-old intern in Barack Obama’s White House counsel’s office. Obama appointed him to be a special assistant in the Department of Housing and Urban Development, where he worked under Secretary Julián Castro, previous mayor of San Antonio, whom Allred said is a great Texan.
The work he did under the Obama administration helped him to realize that he wanted to continue to serve the American people.
“The thing I most appreciated is that it’s not about you,” Allred said. “The work that you’re doing, most people will never know about it, but it’s to help the American people and to make sure the work of the people is getting done. It’s not about your ego, it’s not about what you’ve done before, it’s all about the American people, and I think that spirit of service really appealed to me.”
Allred feels that his connections with the Dallas community make him qualified to represent this district. He was raised in Dallas by a single mom who was a schoolteacher, and he credits his community with giving him the opportunity to go to Baylor, leading to his career in the NFL and as a lawyer.
“I’m trying to run to represent the community that I came from and to make sure that the values that I grew up with here are being represented in Washington,” Allred said. “I want to try and unite this area a bit. We’ve had some kind of divisive things going on in recent months. I think I have a story to tell of someone who the community gave me a chance. I think we have a story to tell about how when we work together and invest in our own people how we can produce great things.”
Allred admires the spirit of service that blossoms within the Baylor community, and he emphasizes that Baylor students should take the time to help others in any way possible.
“It’s a time of transition, it’s a time of strong emotions, and people who are committed to public service, people who are committed to helping their communities and to doing good work are more necessary now than ever,” Allred said. “Baylor has a tradition of that and so I would just advise Baylor students to use the platform you have use some of the privileges that you have… to make an impact in Waco and where you come from. Make someone else’s life better and use some of the advantages that you have to make the world a better place. You’ll never regret helping someone else out or spending your time volunteering.”
Allred’s colleagues say that he exemplifies the Baylor spirit through the way that he leads.
“Colin is a real servant leader,” said Baylor Law graduate and Dallas personal injury lawyer George Tex Quesada. “I’ve seen him talking to disenfranchised and ignored voters at a nondescript polling station at 6:30 on a Tuesday, I’ve seen him at dawn getting up to help with elections. That’s one end of the spectrum, and on the other end of the spectrum, this is somebody who consulted with President Obama and served in the White House and served in the highest level offices in government. This is somebody who’s done it all and seen it all.”
Being a former Baylor football player, Allred had a few things to say about the current Baylor football program.
“I’m happy that Matt Rhule is trying to turn the page without trying to hide from what has happened and I hope that this is going to be a story of redemption,” Allred said. “There’s a lot that still needs to be done but Matt Rhule looks to me like he’s off to a good start.”
If Allred wins, he would be unseating Pete Sessions. Sessions grew up here in Waco and has served in Congress since 1997, having served the 32nd district since redistricting in 2002, according to Sessions’s website.