AUSTIN, Texas — Today, in true Abbott fashion, Gov. Abbott will be using the Rio Grande Valley and it’s predominantly Hispanic citizens as a backdrop for his next political show. Nowhere else in Texas has Abbott’s failed leadership been more apparent than in South Texas where loss of life due to the mismanagement of the Covid-19 pandemic is one of the highest in our state.
Instead of delivering on any real solutions, Abbott has time and time again chosen to visit border communities for photo opportunities in front of an unfinished border wall-all in the hopes of gaining political points with a right-winged base who continue to promote inhumane tactics as a method to solving the complicated issues surrounding real human suffering at the border.
Abbott will no doubt deliver a speech on how conservative Republican values better represent what’s important to Hispanics in South Texas. And he will undoubtedly play on people’s emotions during a time when folks are feeling especially vulnerable. But what Abbott will most definitely not do is talk about why people in South Texas and across our state are having such a difficult time. He will not have the courage to hold himself accountable for his failures as governor or take any responsibility for his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and the dire impact his mismanagement has had on the health of millions of Texans. Especially in South Texas where Over 40% of Hidalgo County residents are uninsured or underinsured, because he and Republican state leaders have refused to expand Medicaid which has denied $100 billion of federal health care support to Texans. He also won’t mention delaying billions of dollars in Covid-19 relief for Texas schools, including the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD.
In Addition, he will breeze past his administration’s failure to pay thousands of National Guard troops deployed for Operation Lone Star–which has left thousands of National guardsmen stranded without pay and struggling with mental health, even leading to suicide. And not one mention will be made regarding our perilous power grid situation. In summary, nothing that really matters to Texans and especially to improving the lives of Texans living in South Texas will be addressed.
Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa issued the following statement:
“People in this region have long been neglected by Republicans like Greg Abbott and have been forced to fend for themselves for decades. The empty promises made by Texas Republicans bring nothing but hardship to these communities because they are never about what is best for the people. They are always self-serving political agendas steeped in racism, division, greed, and maintaining power. They have nothing to do with our Hispanic values or building back our communities better through fair wages, affordable healthcare, better education, and protecting us from a deadly pandemic.
“Republicans, like Abbott, speak of freedom and the importance of family yet deny us the freedom to protect ourselves and our families from a deadly pandemic that has claimed the lives of nearly 75,000 Texans. Many could’ve been saved if not for the Republican rhetoric and Governor Abbott’s banning of masks and vaccine mandates. Abbott abandoned South Texas from day one of this pandemic. And almost two years later, his reckless decisions continue to wreak havoc and prolong the suffering of Latino communities in South Texas like mine.
“The truth behind why Abbott and other Texas Republican politicians are suddenly interested in South Texas is because they are scared. Scared of losing power and they will stoop to all kinds of underhanded tactics to hold on to that power. They tried suppressing our votes with restrictive voting laws, and redistricting us out of fair representation, but they cannot control that the astounding population growth in Texas is driven by Hispanics. They know that the power now lies with the Hispanic vote and it is why they have suddenly turned their attention to this region.
“Our message to Abbott and Republican politicians coming here to South Texas seeking to weaponize our values against us for political gain, we see through you and despite your best efforts to deflect and divide us, you will not succeed. As Texas Democrats, we have worked tirelessly to preserve the values important to Hispanics in South Texas and throughout the state. It is our Democratic values that align with what these communities need and we will continue to fight everyday for equal rights, social justice, expanded healthcare, a living wage, a path to a prosperous future, fair representation, and real opportunity for empowerment and economic freedom.”