After Gov. Greg Abbott delivered his State of the State address on Monday night, the Texas Democrat Party was quick to criticize him for his “failed leadership.”

“Let’s be clear. No matter what Governor Abbott says, we have suffered under his watch because of his actions. We are all hurting,” said Texas Democrat Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa in a pre-produced video released after the speech.

“Our state’s leadership under Governor Abbott has failed to adequately respond [to the coronavirus], leaving Texas with one of the worst outbreaks and one of the worst responses in the entire nation,” claimed former Democrat presidential candidate Julian Castro.

As of publication, Texas ranks 25th in the nation for COVID-19 death rates.

While the video mostly panned Abbott’s leadership, it also highlighted other issues, including economic relief, criminal justice reform, and expanding Medicaid. The response included various Texas citizens and political leaders, such as El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser, State Sen. Carol Alvarado, and State Reps. Senfronia Thompson and Chris Turner.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler also delivered his own response to Abbott’s address, filming a separate video where he reflected a more conciliatory tone. He commended the governor for bringing certain issues to light and touted his record as Austin’s mayor.

“The governor spoke about trying to learn lessons from the pandemic this last year, and I think that’s a really wise and smart thing to do,” Adler began.

Discussing Gov. Abbott’s remarks on public safety, Adler attempted to distance himself from the “defund the police” terminology, claiming that all Austin has done is “take some dollars.”

“I don’t know anybody that is—anyone—that’s defunding police. We’re certainly not doing that in Texas. But we did take some dollars to better spend them on public safety issues. We’re just opening two motels to help us take people off the streets and out of tents, and the money that we’re going to be using to enable us to do that, to manage those facilities, is part of the funding that we found from those unfilled positions.”

In August, the Austin City Council cut its police department by one-third.

He also took credit for many of the businesses moving to Texas, which Abbott mentioned in his speech.

“I am pleased that the governor, in his speech, pointed out the new businesses that are coming to Texas. I was also encouraged that most of the new businesses he mentioned were coming to Austin … and these things are happening in Austin not despite the decisions that we make locally, but because of those decisions.”

Michael Swirsky

Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Michael Swirsky is a writing fellow for Texas Scorecard. Interests include speech and debate, chess, and of course Texas politics.


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