Photo by Emily Greaves

When Hilary Clinton won Texas’ 32nd Congressional District in 2016, area Democrats saw a  chance to win a seat in a now purple district. Ed Meier is an M Streets neighbor who thinks he has what it takes to unseat Pete Sessions. U.S. Rep. Sessions has held the seat since the district was created in 2003 and was first elected to Congress in 1997.

After President Trump’s victory, Meier says he knew he needed to take his public service to the next level when his daughter asked him if Trump was going to do “mean” things.

The son of medical missionaries, Meier grew up in Dallas and Nigeria. He says his parents, who now live in Dallas, taught him about public service and treating everyone with dignity and respect.

During law school, Meier began volunteering with political campaigns, including the one for Regina Montoya, who lost to Pete Sessions in 2000. Meier first got to know East Dallas by block-walking during that election.

Meier worked with Lupe Valdez’s campaign for sheriff and became a Dallas Democratic precinct chair in 2004. He later served in the Obama administration at the State Department and as Director of Policy Outreach for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. While at the State Department, Meier helped coordinate the military-to-civilian transition in Iraq and developed policy for U.S.-Mexico security and the Haitian earthquake.

As he learned about District 32, Meier says three issues stood out: maintaining the Affordable Care Act, addressing income inequality with better paying jobs and improving educational quality.

Meier’s two children attend Stonewall Jackson Elementary School. Before running for office, he directed an organization called Big Thought, a nonprofit that works with organizations to provide opportunities for students to develop 21st century skills, social-emotional needs and core academics.

Running for office, though stressful, is enjoyable for Meier. He appreciates the responsibility of being the one to make decisions and communicate policy. Meier calls his 9-year-old daughter his “junior policy advisor,” and she has been a sounding board for his ideas. “Explaining an issue to a 9-year-old is difficult,” he says. “She asks questions other people won’t ask.”

Several Democratic candidates are in the running to challenge Sessions, including Lillian Salerno, who grew up on Swiss Avenue, and Collin Allred, who also lives in the M Streets. But Meier believes he can do the grassroots organizational work needed to win the seat. Meier says he has more individual donors than the incumbent and he isn’t accepting funds from Political Action Committees. He says he has pulled together a broad swath of the population that will help him win in November.

Early voting started last week and continues through March 2. Election day for the primary is March 6. When Meier voted last week with his family, he says the weight of running for office hit him. “It’s been emotional to see your name on a ballot and see what is really at stake in this election,” he says. “We can change the way Washington works.”

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