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A Year in Review: The District 17 Congressional race

A highly contested Congressional race in a year unlike any other
Published: Dec. 25, 2020 at 8:26 PM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - The District 17 race started with 15 hopefuls, and after an unprecedented year, one candidate is going to Washington to be the new voice of the district.

When Congressman Bill Flores of Bryan announced his retirement, 15 people decided to run for his congressional seat. The large filing was the most District 17 had ever seen.

As the race to Washington began, one candidate dropped out, three Democrats and 11 Republicans remained.

At the beginning of the campaign, two issues were of importance, healthcare and the border.

“No one should have to sell their home to pay for their medical,” said democrat William Foster III.

“We need to secure our borders in every possible, human, technological, and a wall so we know who is coming into our country,” said republican Todd Kent.

Republican Renee Swann got the backing of Congressman Flores.

“She’s the type of thoughtful, effective, leadership we need in Washington today, and I would be honored for her to take this seat moving forward,” said Rep. Flores.

However, by March everything changed. Not only the names on the ballot but across the world.

The COVID-19 pandemic was an unforeseen challenger in the race for District 17, which had candidates campaigning to reach voters in new and different ways.

In July, voters went back to the ballot box to determine who was advancing from the Republican and Democratic runoff races.

Republican Pete Sessions, Democrat Rick Kennedy, and Libertarian Ted Brown emerged for the general election.

“It’s been a challenge, to say the least,” said Kennedy. “We have tried everything we can to be innovative to be online as much as we can to engage people with zoom meetings.”

After an unprecedented year, Pete Sessions won District 17 with 56 percent of the vote.

Looking to 2021, Sessions says one of his top priorities is internet access.

“We must absolutely make sure that what we are doing is going towards this broadband exercise,” said Sessions. “We need to understand the needs. We gotta understand set in priorities.”

Focusing on what people need is how Sessions believes he will be successful in his return to Washington.

“I want to be a bearer of ideas about how to solve issues and go to the solution of issues instead of the fight,” said Sessions. “Really the fight does us no good.”

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