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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Sen. Ted Cruz tours Bush School during statewide trip

Sen.+Ted+Cruz+enters+the+Annenberg+Presidential+Conference+Center.
Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien

Sen. Ted Cruz enters the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center.

On Wednesday, Sept. 8, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz toured Texas A&M’s Bush School of Government and Public Service, the latest in a series of visits to nearly 30 Texas cities and multiple universities, Cruz said.

At the Robert H. and Judy Ley Allen Building on West Campus, Cruz met with school officials and students in several graduate programs. Dropping into the students’ lecture halls, the senator spent time taking questions and discussing the challenges facing the country, both domestically and abroad. 

The visit to A&M followed a tour of the Texas State Technical College Campus in Waco earlier Wednesday morning. Cruz’s staff said the statewide trip comes before next week’s Senate committee hearings on the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan, and a “looming” debate over raising the federal debt ceiling, according to NBC News.

“We had terrific, robust conversations,” Cruz said. “I will say it’s encouraging to see young people who are beginning a career in dedication to public service. I tried to take the opportunity to encourage them to improve the lives of others, because at the end of the day, the legacy that any of us leaves is in the lives that we have touched around us.”

Between lecture visits, Cruz and his staff visited the gravesites of former President George H. W. Bush, former First Lady Barbara Bush and their daughter Pauline Robinson “Robin” Bush.

“I was blessed to get to know [the former president and first lady] before they passed,” Cruz said. “They led extraordinary lives of service. The memorial is beautiful in its simplicity, which I think reflected the lives of service that the two of them led, leaving an impact on their community, on Texas and on the world. At this school, the students here recognize that legacy of service.”

Following his discussions with students, Cruz said he believed the challenges facing the nation should be addressed with the same energy, vigor, integrity and honor “embodied” by A&M and the late President Bush.

With another potentially rough winter ahead of Texans, Cruz said he believed ERCOT has a plan to avoid another disastrous infrastructure failure. 

“I think the state legislature made some important steps forward to improve the grid,” Cruz said. “It was frustrating that our grid didn’t meet the needs during the winter storm. I’m certainly hopeful that we make improvements learning where our weak spots are.”

COVID-19 still remains an important topic in Texas government. According to The Texas Tribune, over 5,000 Texans have died of COVID-19 from August to September of this year, putting the overall Texas death toll above 57,000. Additionally, A&M’s student body faces 1,316 active COVID-19 cases as of Sept. 5, according to the university’s reporting data dashboard. Cruz praised the scientific achievements made through Operation Warp Speed and criticized local and federal governmental decisions from the past year.

“We have seen far too many elected officials shutting down businesses, shutting down small businesses, shutting down restaurants, shutting down stores, destroying millions of jobs and destroying people’s livelihoods,” Cruz said. 

Cruz repeatedly said Texas should not have mandates, whether for masks, immunizations or proof of vaccination. He instead advocated for further COVID-19 countermeasures to be implemented in a way that “protects the vulnerable but also protects individual freedoms,” Cruz said.

“I think we will look back in hindsight at the policies to mandate shutdowns across society as a horribly foolish response to this pandemic,” Cruz said. “So I think in times of crisis, people’s character comes out and we’ve seen far too many elected officials willing to abuse their power to force people to make medical decisions against their wishes.”

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