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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

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Politicians react to winter storm, determine Texas future


Politicians and Texas winter storm Juana Garcia/The Cougar

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

The recent winter weather storm in Texas managed to highlight the reactions of state politicians as well as determine how storms like this will be handled in the future.

While many Texans are still recovering from what was referred to unofficially as “Winter Storm Uri,” politicians and elected officials across the state continue to face both criticism and praise for their response to the catastrophe.

Sen. Ted Cruz was met with backlash on both sides of the political aisle after his decision to take a family trip to Cancún, Mexico, in the midst of the state-wide emergency. 

Some have acknowledged the negative optics surrounding Cruz’s trip, but feel it should not be held over his head. 

“I can understand the criticism (Cruz) has been facing,” said president of the College Republicans, Natalia Melo Malfitano. “Though if most people, including myself, had the option to go on a vacation during the winter storm, we would take it.” 

The Senator later returned to his Houston home after acknowledging the trip as an error on his part, and shared photographs of himself handing out cases of water to residents. 

Though the uproar surrounding Cruz was several weeks ago, his approval rating is recently going down as much as 23 points among republican voters. 

Malfitano also pointed out the actions of Lacey Hull, a member of the Texas House of State Representatives.

“Representative Hull went without power and water for extended periods of time, but remained committed to serving the community,” Malfitano said. 

Blake McNeill, president of UH’s College Democrats, said it is not his organization’s place to highlight specific politicians who did or did not do well during the freeze, but noted his frustrations with lawmakers on the right. 

“It’s unfortunate that the winter storm became political,” McNeill said. “But one thing should be clear to the citizens of Texas right now, Republican legislators do not care about your wellbeing. We can not count on them to save us.”

Former Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke was widely applauded for his response to the storm and the effort he led to raise money for victims.

Numerous Texans view the momentum built up by O’Rourke’s team during the storm as a possible catapult into the 2022 governor’s race. O’Rourke has not yet announced a bid for Governor, but said in January he was considering it.

Former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro criticized current Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Twitter for what he said was a failure to prepare Texas for the crisis.

Castro is rumored as a possible 2022 gubernatorial candidate, but said several weeks ago that a campaign for him in 2022 was unlikely. 

The Houston Chronicle reported New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez helped raise over $4 million to assist the recovery of Texans across the state. 

The progressive congresswoman making a trip down south could likely result in an attempt by democrats to further advance the push for a blue wave in the state leading into an election year. 

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