TX-Sen: MJ Hegar (D) On Gov. Greg Abbott (R), “I saw a failure of crisis management.”

U.S. Senate candidate, MJ Hegar (D. TX), had some harsh words to say today in the Rio Grande Guardian about Governor Greg Abbott’s (R.TX) abysmal decision to re-open Texas’ businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic:

“I am a proponent of small business. Small businesses got hurt hardest. As the governor’s stay at home order started to expire, which he did not enforce anyway, he went in reverse any time local government tried to enforce. As soon as that was expiring, I think that was April, I struggled to understand why he let that expire. I saw a failure of crisis management.”

She also emphasized her background in health care and how you’re supposed to conduct things during these scenarios:

“We used to do crisis management through rubrics. When 60 percent of ICU beds are full we are at orange, when 85 percent we are at red and we are at crisis level, I did not see a lot of decision-making based on that. Like, hey, we can only open when we have this percentage of people testing positive. I did not see that,” Hegar said.

“I just saw an order expire because our governor, seemingly, was told that is what he should do to be in line with some talking points he was handed. That is what it looked like. For me, I would like to see more numbers-driven, rubicons-driven, milestone-driven, science, data, facts, driven decision-making.”

She even made the warning back in April that small businesses would get hit the hardest by Abbott’s reopening orders:

“I was saying in April this is going to kill small businesses. You are trying to open to save small businesses? You are going to decimate small businesses because if we do not open safely in a way that people have access to testing and contract tracing we are going to have to shutdown again. Or we are not going to shutdown but nobody is going to go out and patronize these businesses and you are going to elongate this period of danger and that is what is happening.”

Well said. Author and University of Chicago history professor, Amy Dru Stanley, highlighted in the Washington Post today that Hegar’s opponent, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R. TX), is more concerned about protecting big businesses from lawsuits:

For months, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has been warning of a “second pandemic” of lawsuits brought by workers and consumers infected with the novel coronavirus and insisting that a new relief package include liability protections for employers. President Trump has said the measure should have “some kind of immunity,” though he signaled that it might not be a deal-breaker. But for McConnell it’s nonnegotiable.
A liability shield would indeed give businesses added security in reopening — albeit at the expense of the rights of workers. It would also make a mockery of the Republican Party’s opposition to expansive congressional power, and trespass far into the domain of traditional state authority.

Already, the pandemic has prompted some states to adopt laws granting businesses certain immunities from covid-19 liability claims. But the legislation crafted by McConnell and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) would create federal liability protections, define a federal liability standard, grant federal courts jurisdiction over injury claims and supplant the choices of many states not to grant immunity. All for a term of four years, or longer, if the public health crisis continues.

To take down Cornyn, Hegar is going to need all the help she can get. Especially from the Latino communities in Texas which were crucial for her in winning the runoff:

Hegar, who remains a relative unknown to many voters, is likewise all but certain to win Texas’ Hispanic vote. But any shot at upsetting Cornyn — who maintained a nine-point overall lead in a recent Quinnipiac University poll — will likely depend on the margins.

To that end, the Democrat already reached out to groups like Cambio Texas, a progressive civic engagement organization based in the Rio Grande Valley.

Abel Prado, the group’s executive director, said the Valley gets a bad rap due to the presence of politiqueras, local officials who seek paid campaign positions in return for rallying votes. But he said the more important point is that the region demands real engagement from candidates.

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