TEXARKANA — Senator Ted Cruz addressed the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce in an online exchange to give chamber members a chance to get a Washington’s-eye-view of current concerns. The senator address issues including the hyperpartisanship of Washington politics, getting the nation out from under COVID and his optimistic outlook for the future.
Speaking from his living room in Houston, Texas, Cruz addressed the state of legislation in providing further COVID relief. Citing current partisan rancor, he saw little chance new legislation would get passed before the November elections.
“Legislation is possible, but not likely,” he said. “Frankly, I see it as the Democrats not wishing to. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have adopted a strategy of seeing Americans remain alone, broke and pissed off. They think that is a winning strategy that will make voters more likely to elect Biden.”
Another audience member asked about the legislation brought thus far and what would more legislation look like.
“I see both the Democrat and Republican plans to date as misguided, throwing lots of money at the populace in amounts we can’t afford and getting results we don’t really want,” he said. “I put together a recovery plan, for example, based on encouraging the easing of restrictions and getting businesses to reopen and let the American economy do its thing. Because, government propping up the economy is a short term thing, anyway. You need businesses and they need customers. Businesses need to be able to reopen and conduct business and people need to go back to work, earn a living and bring their business to these businesses.”
Cruz noted remarks recently from California Senator Nancy Pelosi, naming Republicans “the enemy of the people.”
“Right now, there is a visceral hatred coming from some quarters in Washington unlike anything I’ve seen before,” he said. “We will get through this, it takes time. America has been through a Civil War, two world wars, a Great Depression and many more challenges. We will get through this. It just takes time.”
Cruz touted his vigorous support for aviation, space and defense concerns, most notably Red River Army Depot. And on economic indicators, he pointed out the current trials of commercial aviation and transportation.
“I’ve gotten back to air travel, flying roughly once a week,” he said. “During the height of the COVID shutdown, you board a plane, there was maybe three people on the whole aircraft. Now, planes are an average 40% full.”
Family and leisure travel is ramping back up. But business travel is lagging at present.
“That’s the main thing that’s pressuring the commercial airlines,” he said. “That and the fact that international travel is still restricted in many quarters due to COVID. But again, the key to bringing this all back is getting people back to work and engaging with the economy. No government plan will get industry back to work without customers.”
Cruz said COVID still poses risks but it is minimal and manageable.
“For a certain group, it presents serious health risks,” he said. “But that is not distributed uniformly. Those with the significant health risk factors should take steps to protect themselves. Younger people should not be as concerned. Get back to work, do reasonable mitigation, get the economy running again.”
He also emphasized getting children back to school.
“There is some risk,” he said. “But fatality among that population is virtually zero. The real downside to school shutdown is feeding students. Schools that remain closed, schools aren’t feeding them, which causes food hardships among some poorer families. Food banks have stepped into the gap but we need to get them open. Also, kids have fallen behind in their studies, time that will never be regained. The longer this goes on, the more behind they get. Not educating kids is a horrific idea. I personally think this is a time to bring up school choice, giving families options, encourage them to send their kids elsewhere, especially if some traditional schools won’t reopen.”
Cruz said he was looking past the current partisan deadlock and appealing to the American character.
“We will get through this, though it may take an election or two,” he said. “We will make it through. Texans, Americans, we are strong and resilient. We have overcome other challenges, we will make it through this. We need to unleash the American system. I thank the leadership in Texarkana and I am proud to stand with you. We will get to brighter days ahead.”
‘Engaging Texarkana’ Schedule
The agenda for the Chamber of Commerce’s upcoming program “Engaging Texarkana.” Contact Natalie Haywood by email at [email protected] for more info or to sign up.
Tuesday, Sept. 15
8:30 a.m.-9:15 a.m. Keynote by John C. Maxwell
9:45 a.m.-10:30 a.m. Pamela Fuller: Unconscious Bias
11 a.m.-11:45 a.m. Bridget Moon: Small Business Association on Business Planning
2 p.m.-3 p.m. Grow with Google: Connect with Customers and Manage Your Business Remotely
Wednesday, Sept. 16
8:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m. Ed Morrison, author of Strategic Doing
9:30 a.m.-10:20 p.m. Steve Schrantz: Establishing a Trademark
10:30 a.m.-11:20 a.m. Cody Deal: Accounting for Your Business
2 p.m.-3 p.m. Scott Dutile on Virtual Selling: How to build relationships online