Save Our State: Abbott Pleas for Federal Help
after Texas Pays Price for Spurning Democrat
February 18, 2021
Republican Rick Perry was the governor here 10 years ago when Texas House Democrat Sylvester Turner sponsored a bill that would have forced the state power system to expand reserve supplies so it would be better equipped to handle a major weather disaster like the deep freeze here this week.
Turner, who's the Houston mayor now, pointed out on Thursday how the measure died of neglect without a vote or a hearing in the Legislature's lower chamber in 2011. The Turner measure failed because Perry and the ruling Republicans had decided that the nonprofit Electric Reliability Council of Texas was doing fine on its own without the need for tinkering in Austin.
Perry sparked outrage and mockery across the country on Wednesday when he suggested that the people here would prefer to go several days without electricity and heat if that's what it takes to keep the federal government from messing with Texas and the electric power grid here.
But Perry - despite the knowledge he gained as energy secretary in Donald Trump's original cabinet - isn't a credible source on this particular subject despite his limited expertise because he serves on the board of a major Texas electric company.
This made Perry a spokesman for the the oil and gas industry that created and controls the power system that broke down and came within minutes of dying based on reports from Congress. So Perry wasn't speaking for any Texans besides himself with the controversial assertion that people here would be willing to suffer and maybe even lose their lives simply because they are offended by the threat of federal oversight.
Governor Greg Abbott continued to scramble frantically in the meantime on Wednesday when he added the winterization of the state's long-neglected power system and the funds to foot the bill to the list of official emergencies that the Legislature can tackle to work on as soon as it returns from a long winter break.
But Abbott - an ardent foe of big government meddling in Texas business - also turned to the Democrats who control Washington D.C. for a federal bailout today with a request for a Major Disaster Declaration so Texans can qualify for emergency assistance for property damage that stems from broken pipes and trees that have crashed into homes and cars after cracking under the weight of snow and ice.
Abbott said this afternoon that power had been restored to almost two million residences in Texas where more than five million had been in the dark for as long as four days in many cases. More than seven million Texans either have no water or have been ordered to boil any that they plan to consume.
One of the governor's biggest fears is the potential for people to die of hunger or hypothermia after being stranded in homes without transportation to get to grocery stores that had lines wrapped around corners in cities like Austin when they opened on Thursday for the first time all week. The danger of malnourishment has grown exponentially with each day in the Texas deep freeze.
The ever-optimistic Abbott, who'd tried and failed to blame frozen windmills for the Texas power crash, sought to see the glass from a half-full perspective at a briefing this afternoon.
"The past several days have been beyond challenging, but with every passing hour we are restoring power and water for families across Texas," the governor said. "We are doing all we can to make it through this challenge, and the state continues to deploy resources and personnel throughout the state. I want to thank the men and women who are working around the clock in harsh conditions to get the power up and running again, and I ask all Texans to keep them in their prayers. Texans should continue to take proper precautions and follow local guidance to stay safe and warm. We will get through this together."
more to come ...