TEXAS (KFDX/KJTL) — Texas politics is heating up now with 2022 campaigning in full swing.
All of the major statewide officials are up for reelection and Republican as well as Democratic candidates are reflecting on this year’s events and how they plan to make improvements moving forward if appointed.
The Texas primaries are just three months away and gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke has voiced his disapproval of Governor Greg Abbott’s actions in office since the beginning of his campaign trail. The Democrat’s campaign focal point? The reliability of the state’s electrical grid.
“There is no way to explain or account for the electricity grid collapse in a state that is the center of the energy world, at least here in North America, except for the incompetence of the governor and the conflicts of interests that he has,” O’Rourke said.
Texas Representative James Frank says the blame falls less on the governor and more toward the abnormal weather conditions the state experienced in early 2021 as well as those who are in charge of its daily operation.
“Frankly, the grid was in good shape before it had a problem, which, you know, 254 counties below freezing, which never happened in Texas, may never happen again, really weird, some really weird weather situations,” Frank said.
Frank said a number of improvements were made including communication and weatherization within the grid to help prevent any future occurrences similar to the historic freeze from happening in the future.
But O’Rourke says it will take more work to see this come to fruition.
“We need to fix the grid, which means weatherizing every single aspect of power supply from the generators owned and operated by utilities to the actual supply of power including most importantly the gas supply in Texas which was the primary factor in the grid collapse that we saw in February,” O’Rourke said.
Another topic on O’Rourke’s trail is COVID policies.
He says Abbott has shown no leadership during the pandemic and has sent conflicting signals to Texans when it comes to public health measures.
But Frank says those conflicting signals aren’t coming from the governor.
“Here we are 18 months in the pandemic and we still have emergency declarations coming from on high in D.C. Most of which are being overturned in the courts and aren’t right and Congress and I would say also the state legislatures really haven’t stepped in,” Frank said.
O’Rourke says COVID safety should be monitored more efficiently and give Texas employers more trust in pandemic-related decision-making.
“We need a governor who’s going to follow the science. The best advice from doctors and public health experts and who, at a minimum, will get out of the way when private businesses want to make their own decisions about protecting their employees and customers; when school districts want to protect the kids who are in their care. Let’s ensure that they are allowed to do that,” O’Rourke said.
The Texas primary is scheduled for march first.
Representative Frank will be running against Walter Coppage for his seat in District 69 and O’Rourke and Gov. Abbott will both have quite the competition in each of their parties with numerous candidates vying for the same position.