On May 13th Collin Allred spoke to the Greenhill Upper School about his time as a Congressman on Capitol Hill and as a Representative for Texas’ District 32.
At Greenhill, Representative Allred maintained a bi-partisan conversation about many pressing issues that pertain to both North Texas and America as a whole. Representative Allred was sworn into office on January 3rd, 2019 during the longest government shutdown in history. For the past few months, he has worked a part of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the Foreign Affairs Committee, and the Veterans’ Affairs Committee. As the shutdown hindered the ability for legislation to be passed, it stunted his work for some time. Nonetheless, Representative Allred has expressed is great interest in talking to young people and getting them to become involved.
Representative Allred talked to students about what it meant to be involved in the community and the government.
“Government is not ‘them,” it is not far away,” said Representative Allred. “It is not something that you do not have control over. Government is ‘us.’”
The discussion with Representative Allred was set up by Greenhill’s Political Action Club. Junior Sophia Hurst, Vice President of the Political Action Club, met Representative Allred at an event and asked if he would be willing to speak on campus. After months of communication and planning, Representative Allred was able to dedicate some of his time to coming on campus.
“I think that it’s important that students have a vision of what real world government looks like and even envision a future in the political world,” said Sophia. “It is an opportunity for us to apply the facts we learn at Greenhill…Hearing real politicians demystifies government and reminds us that government is in fact accessible to us and more proximate than we often believe.”
Representative Allred talked both about the pieces of legislature he is currently supporting as well as what he hopes for in the future. Representative Allred continued this conversation by sharing what his role as a member of the House of Representative really is.
Representative Allred’s role, he said, is to be representing the people in his district and being a voice for the people.
However, in order for him to actually be able to voice our opinions as a community, Representative Allred shared the importance in getting involved with government and local politics.
“Staying focused locally, day to day, is really going to be important,” said Representative Allred.
At the same time, Representative Allred said what it means to truly impact our community and how the rise of social media tends to distort these ideals. He shares that, what it means to truly be important is often lost.
“Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that being important online is the same as in the real world,” said Representative Allred.
The Representative brought into the conversations the problem with not participating in the democracy. As Rep. Allred said, if you are not at the table, then you are on the menu.
“Democracy is not a spectator’s sport,” said Representative Allred.
Representative Allred continued the conversation by talking about what it means to be a part of a democracy, and how democracy can be distinguished from other forms of government. Representative Allred shared why America’s democracy is best of all forms of government.
“Our democratic form of government is the best that there is. Our government is about us,” said Representative Allred.” If you don’t like something, you can get involved and changed it.”
However, as Representative Allred said, many Greenhill students are already doing a great job seeking to get involved within local, state, and national politics.
“One of the things that I love about Greenhill is that you have this spirt of activism,” said Representative Allred.
Some Greenhill students are both engaged in politics and many pressing social issues; however, many students showed up during lunch to hear what Representative Allred had to say. Many students believe that one of the reasons why his speech was so powerful was because of his ability to connect with them.
“I was beyond impressed by his ability to connect with students and also the fact that he had faith in us,” said Sophia. “He reiterated that we aren’t people that should be babied when talking politics, but rather we should be listened to, because we are the future.”
Representative Allred told his audience why speaking to Greenhill students is very distinct than other experiences.
“Talking to Greenhill kids is like preaching to the choir. You all already know this,” said Representative Allred.
The Representative, who visits schools in the area often, shared why he enjoys talking to students, “I love talking to young people. You all are the opposite than what people think you are.”
Photos Courtesy of the Greenhill Communications Office