On the issues: Rep. Michelle Steel and Jay Chen on abortion, immigration and healthcare.
When Jay Chen first spoke to me at a dinner party about his new book, “Risky Business: A True Story of Risk & Failure in America,” it was as though we had known each other since high school. We were both political outsiders with degrees in mathematics and psychology, and he made me promise we would never share a cab together again. Yet our conversation was long and warm, filled with our political differences (he is an independent congressman who caucuses with the Democrats, I’m the junior Democrat in the Texas House of Representatives who supports President Donald Trump) and the more we delved into our differences, the more we seemed to find common ground.
In “Risky Business,” Chen makes the case that he is more interested in winning as opposed to winning for the sake of winning, and offers the reader (myself included) a different way of looking at risk. In “Risky Business,” Chen and I explore what it is to be both a risk taker and a risk manager. We look at what it is to take a risk when it will likely fail, and then how to mitigate risk when it will likely succeed. Our conversation was about my time in the House and the challenges I faced in my reelection campaign, and ultimately how I would make the most of my time running for Congress, which, as someone who has spent time in the halls of Congress, I find to be a very humbling experience.
The book began on a day when everyone in my district knew that my opponent in the 2016 election, state representative K.C. Stone, had filed to run again, which, after one of the most expensive campaigns in American history, was a foregone conclusion. While the race was still active, a young Republican from our district, former state representative Jason Villalba, was running against me in the Republican primary.
When it was clear Villalba had an uphill battle in his primary, I decided to stay out of the race so I could devote my time to the campaign, which at that point was mostly about messaging. Despite having a very small number of resources to spend on my candidacy, I made the decision to run unopposed in the primary, giving me the opportunity to really focus on the campaign. It was not until later in the primary that I was offered the opportunity to challenge Stone