I appreciate this written testimony, but it should be virtual. I’d like you to see and hear this from me.
Our family lost power early Monday, February 15. What was a dream snowy Valentine’s Day weekend with our children turned into a nightmare. We never had “rolling blackouts.” Power was just shut off—for days.
Temperatures dropped outside and inside. We bundled up with coats and hats, put two pairs of socks on tiny feet, two pairs of pants, a shirt and sweater and jacket for our youngest. My husband made meals in the gas fireplace. We tried to make the best of it, happy that we had warm food. Not everyone did.
Eventually 3 degrees outside meant 38 inside. Our older children huddled under blankets and we held our young daughters’ hands. Her hands and feet turned bright red and painful.
We eventually sent children to grandparents who had power and water. News stations reported “rolling blackouts,” so we kept expecting power and heat. Had we known it would be days, not hours, we would all have left earlier. How can families make good decisions without accurate information?
I live in Tarrant County, but watched Dallas’ Democratic leader because my Republican officials were MIA.
Even though he reached out to me on LinkedIn and he followed me on Twitter, I cannot now see the Tweets of my state representative Capriglione. He didn’t like that I Tweeted that he restricted—rather than expanded—access to voting, so he blocked me. (Incognito browser shows he had four Tweets only.) He can’t block that I can see his voting history and priorities plainly. How unfortunate for all Texans that he and others spend limited time fighting local control, healthcare access, and environmental protection.
Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley tweeted all of three times during the crisis (once on Facebook), February 14-21.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins was constantly in contact (in English and Spanish), tweeting 181 times (I counted) February 14- 21: food and water distribution, warming centers, power outages by zip code, boil notices, disaster relief scams, COVID vaccination site status, electricity plans and rates, uninsured and underinsured loss claims with FEMA, county disaster assistance, school closings, federal disaster declaration and what that means…
I saw our governor lie on TV. I saw the former governor say the loss of lives and homes was worth it to be free of federal oversight. I saw my junior US senator cross the border.
If state lawmakers like mine spent time investing in infrastructure rather than legislating chicken sandwiches and bathrooms, lives and property would not have been lost. What happened was a power AND leadership failure. Do not repeat it.
Texas families were not warned 10 days ago about what would happen last week, but Texas “leaders” were warned 10 years ago. You were warned against underinvestment and neglect, warned to winterize and reserve power. You didn’t listen to experts then. Listen to experts and Texas families now.