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Colin Allred, Genevieve Collins clash over health care, taxes during Lone Star Politics debate

Allred, the incumbent Democrat, faces Republican Collins in Dallas County’s Congressional District 32.

Congressional District 32 incumbent Rep. Colin Allred and Republican challenger Genevieve Collins clashed on Friday over heath care, taxes and who’s best qualified to lead their northern and eastern Dallas County district.

During a debate for Sunday’s edition of Lone Star Politics, the political show produced by The Dallas Morning News and KXAS-TV (NBC5), Collins accused Allred of supporting a tax increase during a pandemic and not doing enough to help the nation’s small businesses. Allred moved quickly to debunk most of Collins' claims.

“Yes, I believe Mr. Allred wants to raise taxes,” Collins said. “He supported raising taxes on small business during a global shutdown. In addition, this Congress continues to stall economic relief for our small businesses. This is unconscionable and unacceptable.”

But Allred challenged Collins to provide proof that he supported a tax increase during the spring shutdown to stop the spread of the coronavirus. He pointed out that there hasn’t been a vote to raise taxes during the pandemic and that Congress has provided stimulus and relief to residents and businesses racked by COVID-19.

Collin’s charge mirrors those in her latest campaign television commercial and mailers. In her ad, a small business owner flatly states that Allred "supported raising taxes on small businesses doing a shutdown. Why would you do that?”

“I’d like to know from Ms. Collins, what piece of legislation she’s talking about that raises taxes on small businesses during this pandemic, because it hasn’t happened,” Allred said in response to Collins. “We passed $4 trillion worth of aid in this Congress, including creating the PPP program that my office has worked extremely hard to make sure that businesses have access to.”

Allred said Collins is purposely distorting his record.

“This is a pattern that we’ve seen throughout this campaign, that my opponent’s willing to say and do and really spin anything to get elected, even when it’s not supported by the facts,” he said.

Later in the show, Collins acknowledged that Allred had not “raised taxes” during the shutdown, but criticized him for backing tax increase proposals being offered by Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

“He supports the Biden tax plan,” Collins said. “It will affect 82% of Americans with a tax increase. What I know for a fact is that North Texans don’t want more tax increases, they want to have the opportunity to be the architects of their lives, not have the government interfering, telling them how much they’re going to be paying for their businesses and their families.”

Collins' campaign manager, Rob Costello, said on Friday that what Collins means when she says Allred “supported raising taxes on small businesses during a global shutdown,” is that when the shutdowns were underway, Allred supported the tax plan that Biden would implement in 2021, if he was elected president.

Biden says his tax plan would raise taxes only on those who make over $400,000 a year. It would also raise the corporate income tax rate from 21% to 28%, moves which would raise over $4 trillion over 10 years.

The debate is the first time the nominees for Congress have shared the same platform for a debate. On Sunday evening, they are scheduled to participate in a forum sponsored by Dallas' American Jewish Committee. The 6 p.m. virtual event will be televised on C-SPAN, organizers said.

During the Lone Star Politics debate, the candidates also clashed over health care.

“Mr. Allred continues to lie, flat out, about my belief system about health care,” Collins said. “First off, I would never sign onto any piece of legislation that wouldn’t protect people with preexisting conditions. We’ve got to make sure that we protect our family members or friends who have preexisting conditions.”

Among other things, Collins supports price transparency that would bring down the cost of health care and prescription drugs. She said she would not repeal the Affordable Care Act, though in the past she has blasted Republicans for not being able to “replace and repeal” the law.

“The Republican Party has failed to actually come up with a new plan to repeal and replace, more specifically replace, the Affordable Care Act,” Collins said. “We need to reform the Affordable Care Act, to make sure that there’s more competition in the marketplace and ensure that people are always covered, regardless of their condition.”

Allred said his ads against Collins are based on facts and that her words about protecting people with preexisting conditions are not based on her actions.

“Ms. Collins supports Donald Trump, who is right now as we speak … trying to repeal the entirety of the Affordable Care Act, not a part of it, the entirety of it,” Allred said. “They want to take away health care from over 20 million Americans who’ve gotten it from the expansion of Medicaid, which Texas should do.”

In 2018, Allred beat Republican incumbent Pete Sessions to flip the district from red to blue. He pointed to his work to bring a Veterans Administration Medical Center to Garland and other bipartisan efforts as reasons that voters should return him to office.

“I’m proud of the work that we’ve done in my first term in Congress and how we’ve done it,” Allred said. “I’m proud that we got a new VA hospital in Garland that is serving 184,000 veterans here in our community and creating 5,000 jobs, passed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement that really set a new standard to have both business and labor support that led the effort to get the bullet train between Dallas and Houston past its federal hurdles.”

Allred is backed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Collins retorted that she’s the best choice because she understands what it takes to create jobs and run a business. Before leaving her post to campaign for Congress, Collins was the head of corporate strategy at Istation, an education technology firm founded by her father, Dick Collins.

“North Texas is an economic engine, not just of our state but of our nation, and our voters to demand someone with real business experience,” Collins said, adding that she’s a businesswoman who helped grow a business from 36 employees to 300 employees. “I believe that we need less government in business and more business to government, especially coming out of a global pandemic and economic crisis. We need someone that actually has created jobs, has balanced a budget, has forecasted growth and has worked with every school district that makes up this congressional district.”

The race between Allred and Collins, both from Dallas, will test whether the district can still be won by a Republican candidate, or if it’s Democratic blue for the foreseeable future.

In This Story

Colin Allred

Colin Allred has been the U.S. Representative for the 32nd congressional district since 2019. He is running for reelection in 2020.

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Gromer Jeffers Jr., political writer. The Howard University graduate and Chicago native has covered four presidential campaigns and written extensively about local, state and national politics. Before The News, he was a reporter at The Kansas City Star and The Chicago Defender. You can catch Gromer every Sunday at 8:30 a.m. on NBC 5's Lone Star Politics.

gjeffers@dallasnews.com @gromerjeffers
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