Meet Dr. Brian Williams, the first hopeful to succeed Rep. Colin Allred in CD32.
“I’ve always responded during times of crisis,” Williams said in an interview Tuesday with The Dallas Morning News.
“I did as a veteran. I did as a trauma surgeon, and, now, with all the intersecting crises occurring, I feel that it’s time for me to take my experience and expertise to Congress.”
Williams, a Democrat, said, if elected, he would seek solutions to curb mass shootings and promote gun safety. He said he’s also concerned with protecting reproductive rights for women and healing an environment affected by climate change.
“There is a real need for leaders who have frontline experience with the issues that we’re trying to solve,” he said.
Williams will be part of what could be a crowded field to replace Allred, who is not seeking reelection and is instead running for Senate against incumbent Republican Ted Cruz.
State Rep. Julie Johnson, D-Farmers Branch, is expected to announce her campaign after the Texas legislative session concludes on Memorial Day. Dallas City Council member Adam Bazaldua, who represents the South Dallas-anchored District 7, also has been mentioned as a possible contender.
Formerly a Dallas trauma surgeon, Williams has had an unlikely path to politics.
In July 2016, he was in charge of Parkland Memorial Hospital’s trauma room when victims of the shooting in downtown Dallas arrived. Seven of the 14 wounded officers were treated at his hospital, and three of them died. Five officers died as a result of the ambush.
Days after treating the fallen police officers, Williams discussed how issues of race and policing that evolved from the ambush were “much more complicated” for him.
“I understand the anger and frustration with law enforcement. But they are not the problem,” said Williams, who is Black, at a news conference.
“I want the Dallas police officers to see me, a Black man. I support you. I will defend you. I will care for you. That doesn’t mean I do not fear you,” he added.
His remarks put him at the center of a national debate on the relationship between police and Black men. And it fueled his desire to promote gun safety policies.
Then-Mayor Mike Rawlings asked Williams to be the chair of a city board that provides oversight to the Police Department.
After that, Williams pushed for gun safety on Capitol Hill, including working as an adviser for Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn. His last job in Washington was as an adviser on such issues for Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and the former House speaker.
“There are too many young people dead on arrival from gun violence, and I’ve talked to too many parents, watching them in anguish when I tell them the news,” he said. “I realize that the solutions to the problems that I was dealing with in the operating room exist outside of the hospital, so I sought service in the community.”
See here for some background. I’ve said before that I’m a fan of Rep. Johnson, but at the time of Allred’s announcement she was the only one of the named competitors (not counting the “maybe/could be” names) I knew anything about. I’m still a big fan, but I also like what I’m hearing from and about Brian Williams. If what we get is a contest between good choices, that’s okay. As is always the case with a newly-announced Congressional candidate, I look forward to seeing what his first finance report looks like, which we will get to see in July.