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Join us on Tuesday, Sept. 21 at 10:00am ET, when Rep. Colin Allred, a democrat from Dallas, and Rep. Van Taylor, a republican from Plano, talk to Marianna Sotomayor about redrawing the lines around their neighboring North Texas districts, the fight over voting rights and finding common ground. This conversation is presented in partnership with The Texas Tribune Festival, a multi-day celebration of big, bold ideas about politics, public policy and the day’s news.

Rep. Colin Allred (D-Tex.)

Provided by the office of Rep. Collin Allred (D-Tex.)

Born and raised in North Dallas by a single mom who was a Dallas public school teacher, Congressman Colin Allred was student body president at Hillcrest High School and earned a full-ride football scholarship to Baylor University.

Diploma in hand and prepared to attend law school, Colin deferred his acceptance to play in the NFL. He was a linebacker for five seasons before sustaining a career-ending injury that opened the door for him to fulfill his other dream -- becoming a civil rights attorney.

Colin served in the General Counsel’s office at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Colin later returned home to Dallas and decided to run for office to represent the district he grew up in.

As a Representative, Colin is dedicated to helping North Texas families gain the same opportunities he had to fulfill his dreams. Colin’s top priorities in Congress are working to lower health care costs, protecting Medicare and Social Security, and creating an economy that works for everyone. Colin is passionate about expanding access to vocational and trade schools and lowering the cost of college so all North Texans have the shot at a middle-class job. He believes Congress must find common ground to rebuild our aging roads and bridges, pass comprehensive immigration reform and take care of our veterans.

Rep. Van Taylor (R-Tex.)

A seventh generation Texan, Van Taylor is a family man, businessman, and decorated Iraq War Veteran. Growing up, Van earned his Eagle Scout from the future President George Bush. After high school, Van attended Harvard College from which he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in history.

After graduating college, Van volunteered to serve his country and received a commission in the United States Marine Corps. He attended The Basic School, Infantry Officer Course, and graduated first in his class from Sniper Employment Officer Course. He completed Intelligence School as the Marine Honor Graduate and commanded First Marine Regiment’s Reconnaissance Platoon in Camp Pendleton, CA. After completing that assignment, he served as an intelligence officer for an artillery battalion. Van earned the Navy Achievement Medal for devising a quantitative combat power analysis system.

Van Taylor joined the Marine Corps Reserves to continue serving his country while earning his MBA at Harvard Business School. He served in Fourth Civil Affairs Group, graduating from the John F. Kennedy School of Special Warfare at Ft. Bragg, NC. He joined 4th Reconnaissance Battalion as a platoon commander for Charlie Company.

On September 11, 2001, Van was serving his final day at the 4th Civil Affairs Group at the Anacostia Naval Annex. He was supposed to have lunch at the Pentagon that day, but instead watched smoke rise from across the Potomac River as the Pentagon burned from the 9-11 terrorist attack.

That day, Van swore to always serve and make a difference.

Two years after September 11, Van deployed to Iraq where he fought with 2nd Force Reconnaissance Company. While deployed, Van led the first platoon into Iraq for his brigade and a mission that rescued 31 wounded Marines during the pitched Battle of An Nasiriyah. For his service in Iraq, the Marine Corps awarded Captain Taylor the Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation, and the Navy Commendation Medal with “V” for valor.

Van and his wife, Anne, married after his return from Iraq and are the proud parents of three young girls, Laura, Helen, and Susie who they have raised in Plano near the land Van’s great-grandfather farmed during the Great Depression.

From April 2010 to January 2015, Van Taylor represented District 66 in the Texas House of Representatives. From January 13, 2015 – January 3, 2019, Taylor served as a Member of the Texas Senate, representing the Eighth Senate District of Texas. On January 3, 2019, Van Taylor was sworn in as a Member of the United States Congress, representing Texas Third Congressional District.

During the 1st Session of the 116th Congress, Representative Taylor served on the House Committee on Homeland Security and the Committee on Education and Labor. Given Taylor’s personal experience as well as the heavy presence of financial services sector companies and employees in Texas’ Third Congressional District, Congressman Taylor was appointed to the influential House Committee on Financial Services in January 2020 and is proud to serve on the Housing, Community Development & Insurance Subcommittee, the Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship, & Capital Markets, and the Task Force on Artificial Intelligence.