Texas Democrats Julián Castro, Joaquin Castro, Marc Veasey, Sheila Jackson Lee, Sylvia Garcia, Gilberto Hinojosa and Texans Affected by this Crisis Host Virtual Press Conference Admonishing Failed Republican Leadership the Past 20 Years and the Crisis We See in Texas Right Now
AUSTIN, Texas — Earlier today, Texas Democrats hosted a press conference assailing Republican leadership that has led Texas into the crisis that we see today.
Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott is the worst Governor in modern Texas history. Whether it’s Hurricane Harvey, Texas’ abysmal COVID-19 response, slow vaccine distribution, or now, his failure to plan for and respond adequately to this energy crisis, Greg Abbott fails time and time again to meet the moment. To make matters worse, his priority is consistently passing blame off rather than seeking solutions that help Texans.
He is emblematic of weak and ineffective Republican leadership that has run Texas for the past two decades.
Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa said the following:
“It feels like Texans for the last year have been in a constant state of stress both physically and emotionally but also economically. People have been scared, they’ve been upset, they’ve been angry, they’ve been anxious and mostly they’ve been in total dismay of what is happening in Texas. And a big reason this is happening is because of the failed Republican leadership in this state. It started with the COVID-19 crisis that became far worse than it should have been because of Greg Abbott and the failed Republican leadership in this state which quickly made Texas the number one state for COVID-19 cases and deaths. And then, not having even recovered from that, we experience this other crisis that was caused by the ineffective leadership of this state, a crisis that everyone understood was going to happen if we didn’t do something about it. But in the attempt by the Republican leadership to try to set Texas aside as a state that could handle its own problem we left the people of this state vulnerable. Well we just found out when you try to handle things on your own. You allow a power grid that isn’t protected to breakdown to the point where millions of people have suffered. This could’ve been avoided if the republicans running this state would’ve been responsible and shown a little vision to try to protect the people of our great state. That is the great thing about our state is our people and you don’t care about them, like Ted Cruz who is willing to walk away and go to a resort. Elections have consequences and the people of Texas are experiencing the consequences of the last 20 years.”
Congressman Joaquin Castro said the following:
“As yall have seen, this is a humanitarian disaster, millions of people have been without power and water. Many have suffered severe property damage because of busted pipes. The estimates are the property damage for this winter storm may be worse than Hurricane Harvey. Nothing of this had to happen. There’s been an utter lack of preparation for the state power system. I wrote a letter to the Public Utility Commission and ERCOT a few days ago and we received basically non-responses. . All those people should be replaced. Governor Abbott has failed the people of Texas. Every time there is a disaster or crisis in Texas, the governor goes into hiding. There has been an utter lack of leadership from the top down. The governor has not mobilized any rainy day money to deal with this just like he did during Hurricane Harvey. There has just been an utter lack of leadership. It has been overwhelming the last few days. I am just in shock that a United State senator would leave Texas during a time of crisis for a beach vacation.”
“We want to work at the federal level to integrate our power grid. We are helping draw down federal FEMA aid money. But this is going to take a long time to rebuild”
Congressman Marc Veasey said the following:
“This week across our state we had millions of people who lived in the dark and cold in freezing temperatures. We had families who had to huddle under blankets. We had hospitals that had a hard time keeping their lights on and keeping fresh water. We had a record number of people be treated because of carbon monoxide poisoning because they were just trying to stay warm.”
“Let’s get one thing straight, this was preventable because for years Texas Republicans turned their backs on the fact that Texas power could not handle extreme temperatures and our grid was literally minutes away from a complete collapse. It could’ve kept us in the dark for weeks if not months. And it is Republicans who are to blame for this. Republicans don’t want to spend the money we need to spend to make sure our infrastructure can handle these extreme temperatures, we knew this could happen because it happened in 2011. Our reliance on an isolated power without a means to receive power from neighboring states is just irresponsible.”
“You saw earlier this week Greg Abbott and other Texas Republicans almost cartoonishly blaming the Green New Deal, we don’t have the Green New Deal in Texas, they’re (Republicans are in control) have been the ones in charge of the state.”
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee said the following:
“How desperate a situation it is when you hear paramedics are finding people frozen to death in their beds or to be on the phone with someone trying to rescue an elder parent so they do not die in the night. We have to look at this current situation as a 20-year failure of leadership when this state has been led by Republicans.”
“ERCOT, organized in 1970 to avoid and undermine the needs of the people of Texas to ensure that they did not have federal oversight. When I called the Department of Energy they indicated their hands were tied because Texas purposely crafted their energy grid to self-contained, gloating about how much energy they had and not sharing it with neighboring states and not being part of an integrated inter transmission system that would’ve allowed other states to transfer energy during Texas’ time of need”
“Why did this happen, it is because we had a failed governmental system that did not direct ERCOT to ensure we had weatherization of power plants, no frozen wind turbines and gas remain in the ground.”
Austin residents Anna and Michael Mendez said the following:
“We are from Austin, Texas. We lost power on Monday at 2 AM. We were without power for over 62 hours in single-digit temperatures with our ten-year-old son. It was rough. With COVID-19 we were already isolated but when you are in cold and dark it makes you realize how isolated are. We felt abandoned. We literally felt like our state leaders left us out in the cold. We live near a greenbelt and luckily we were able to gather enough wood. My wife and son slept while I stayed awake throughout the night, adding wood to the fire every hour. No one was prepared for this and we felt absolutely abandoned.”
Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro said the following:
“Texans have been failed by our statewide leaders, not only over the last few days but for decades. This natural disaster, this crisis that we faced was preventable, but for years Republican leaders ignored the need to winterize the equipment at the power plants and instead put in a system that allows for price gouging. We are at a place where millions of Texans have been inconvenienced and some cases died. We need to make sure the Texas Legislature holds those in power accountable. Because of their incompetence, because of their cronyism, we’re at a point where millions of Texans have been inconvenienced and some cases have died. That’s what we are grappling with in Texas, it is a crisis of leadership that has had real-world consequences for people all across our state. We need to make sure that we put the government in the hands of people who care about good government. Because in the case of Governor Abbott, Lt. Governor Patrick or Ted Cruz, they don’t. They will fail you every time because they don’t care about doing their jobs.”