A year ago today, we only had 4 minutes before the power grid completely collapsed and cut off power for all Texans indefinitely.
Over five million homes without power, 700 preventable deaths, one year, and four Texas legislative sessions later, Texas Republicans have not lifted a finger for Texans to prevent this catastrophe from happening again.
Like millions of Texans from Amarillo to Brownsville, I lost power for days. I want to share my story with you today. It’s one of pain and frustration at our state’s leadership — but it’s also one that exemplifies how Texans take care of each other when our government won’t.
Thanks to a kind co-worker and neighbor (and a four wheel drive car), my dogs and I were able to take refuge at the Texas Democrats HQ. There, we slept on the couch, I ate snacks from the break room for dinner, and we played fetch (a lot) while we waited for the snow to melt.
My power was out for three days — in the energy capital of the world, all of us were desperate for heat. The blackouts were “rolling” at first, but it quickly became clear that the power was not coming back — leaving more than 5 million households without power.
Unfortunately, when I got back to my apartment, I — as well as one million Texans — did not have running water. No water to drink, cook, bathe, or flush the toilet. Instead, I had to melt snow. Had it not been for the generosity of neighbors and local businesses donating food and essentials, so many of us would have gone over a week without a warm meal. And I was one of the lucky ones.
Decades of corruption, lies, and greed all led up to February 15, 2021. Winter Storm Uri cost the Texas economy $130 billion dollars — a cost that WE are shouldering because Governor Abbott and Republican legislators failed to put Texans first.
Meanwhile, the companies who were ultimately responsible didn’t have to pay a dime.
In fact, Greg Abbott happily collected over 4 million dollars from oil and gas executives after passing toothless “regulations”. And, Ted Cruz? While we were freezing in our homes, he was getting ready for a beach vacation in Cancun.
Scientists, journalists, and countless government agencies have said what millions of Texans know to be true — the grid is not prepared for another winter storm. That’s why earlier this month, families across Texas were frantically preparing for Winter Storm Landon. That trauma doesn’t just go away.
Texans remember. We remember.
Huddling around family to stay warm. Using candles for light. Desperately melting snow for drinking water. Above all, we remember how Texas Republicans did nothing before, during, or after the snow melted and lights came back on.
And this year, we’re going to fight like hell to make sure these families and people receive real justice for the failure of Texas Republicans. The best way to hold them accountable is at the ballot box.
Today, we reflect on the hundreds of lives lost, the families who endured real suffering in freezing homes, the first responders who risked their lives to help those in crisis, and the communities and businesses that selflessly gave what they could to help their neighbors when Texas Republicans abandoned them and never looked back.
May we harness that pain and anger and use it to ensure a catastrophic event like this never happens again.