AOC Comes to Texas Rescue after Cruz Bolts
as Governor Huddles with Oil and Gas Allies

Mike Hailey
Capitol Inside
February 19, 2021

The walls appeared to be coming down on the Grand Old Party era in Texas on Friday when U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York did more in 24 hours to help the Lone Star State than all of the Republican leaders and lawmakers combined have done throughout the historic Texas winter storm disaster.

AOC - a Bronx resident who Donald Trump and Texas Republicans have portrayed as a dangerous socialist - is heading to Houston this weekend to help hand out out food and emergency supplies after raising $2 million for the relief effort here with a plea on social media Thursday night for donations for people who've been casualties of the epic state power grid collapse.

As the 31-year-old congressional Democrat assumed the role of guardian angel for Texans in need, Governor Greg Abbott met with oil and gas industry representatives to see what state government could do to help them recover from the catastrophe that was a product of dilapidated technology and a shoddy regulatory system that major utilities have controlled.

Abbott and other major GOP leaders here like Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick have vowed to protect the fossil fuels business in Texas from initiatives that Democrats like President Joe Biden and Osascio-Cortez say are critical for the planet's long-term survival amid the ever-growing threat of climate change.

The governor moved swiftly in an ill-fated attempt to shift the blame away oil and gas for the Texas ice disaster with an assertion that frozen windmills and overreliance on clean energy sources. The truth is that the Texas blackout was caused by a natural gas production shutdown as a result of pipes that froze because they hadn't been properly maintained and winterized.

The deadly deep freeze has exposed the state's addiction on antiquated energy sources that the industry has fueled with massive amounts of political cash for Republicans in a state that's allowed major electric utilities to effectively regulate themselves with minimal state oversight.

While at least 20 deaths that are weather-related had been confirmed in Texas, Abbott and Cruz had been the biggest individual political losers here by Friday morning as the governor scrambled frantically to play from behind and his U.S. Senate ally tried to mop up the public relations crisis that he's created for himself.

Cruz had mocked Austin Mayor Steve Adler for a family wedding trip to Cabo San Lucas during the Thanksgiving weekend - chiding the Democratic local leader for a major dereliction of duty in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. Cruz has decried Congress' penchant for taking breaks - saying that its members were elected to work for their constituents full time.

The state's junior senator had been basking in his popularity on the extreme right since he voted against the certification of the democratic American election in 2020 as the trigger for the Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol where five people were killed on January 6. The joy ride crashed with the getaway to the Mexican Caribbean that Cruz says now that he only made to drop his family off for the weekend. Cruz had indicated earlier that he'd planned to stay until Saturday. But Cruz suggested that he's resumed his elected responsibilities.

"My staff and I are in constant communication with state and local leaders to get to the bottom of what happened in Texas," Cruz said in a statement. "We want our power back, our water on, and our homes warm. My team and I will continue using all our resources to keep Texans informed and safe."

Democrat Beto O'Rourke - a former U.S. representative who came close to unseating Cruz out in a re-election race 2018 - was actively involved in the Texas relief effort while the senator was vacationing out of the country.

But AOC's intervention in a way that's visible beyond rhetoric that will cause Cruz even more shame in light of a bitter feud that intensified late last month when the New Yorker who's parents are Puerto Rican accuse the Texas solon of trying to get her killed with his part in the attempted coup. She's rubbing Cruz's nose in it now as a hero in Houston where he's a resident with a reputation that could be ruined beyond repair.

“Team AOC is launching relief efforts for Texas starting today,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “Our first effort is a partnership w/ 5 Texas orgs getting on-the-ground relief to Texans ASAP. If you’re able, please donate here - it’ll split your contribution to all 5.”

The initial groups that AOC designated as conduits for the generosity are Family Eldercare, Feeding Texas, Houston Food Bank, Ending Community Homelessness Coalition that's known as ECHO and the Bridge Homeless Recovery Center. The congresswoman said she was lining up more nonprofits to assist in the distribution effort.





Copyright 2003-2021 Capitol Inside