This past week, in Texas at least, it seemed as though 2020 found itself in extra innings as an ''unprecedented'' winter storm found its way to the Lone Star State. As a Texan who found himself living through this event, I too found myself longing for the days when I no longer would hear the word unprecedented.
Almost as if we were living in a third-world country, millions of residents in my beloved state were left to fight the bitter cold without electricity, heat and water, and while the electricity and heat for most have returned, many still find themselves without drinkable water.
As of last Monday, when temperatures found themselves in negative territory and wind chills were nearing negative 20 degrees, while millions were trying to stay warm without power or heat, politicians were clamoring to find someone or somewhere else to pass the buck.
But the reality was that they only had themselves to blame, as the events of this past week should never have happened. After our last ''unprecedented'' weather event in 2011, which saw similar outages and impact, legislators in our state held hearings to determine the cause and map out solutions; however, as so often happens in government while problems are identified, solutions are all too often not implemented.
Texas, independent in our nature, is the only state within the continental U.S. to control its own power grid. Managed by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), a non-profit organization that reports to the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Texas Legislature, the grid provides power to approximately 90% of Texas residents and offers the state the ability to remain energy independent from the federally managed grids that power the remainder of the lower forty-eight.
Following the events of 2011 and the subsequent hearings, recommendations were provided to Texas that included the need to properly winterize our power plants to prevent mass power outages during the next arctic event. These recommendations; however, fell on deaf ears.
Likely assuming that constituents would have a short-term memory, updating our power grid to solve for an ''unprecedented'' event apparently wasn’t pressing enough for politicians who chose to focus on other issues. Consequently, their lack of attention has left billions in losses, millions of residents devastated, and too many dead as a result.
While Texas begins to return to weather conditions more consistent with our geography, we are left to assess the damage and hear stories like that of Cristian Peneda — an 11-year-old boy living outside of Houston who woke up to snow for the first time in his short life. Cristian’s family posted a video of him playing outside as most kids would do — as my kids did — given this rare occurrence. A few hours after that video was shot, however, Cristian was found dead lying in his bed of what is suspected to be hypothermia after, like so many in Texas, temperatures inside his home plummeted after losing power. Cristian’s parents came to Texas from Honduras wanting a better life for their children — what they found instead was a reality that should have been unthinkable.
Texas is one of the most prosperous states in our union. It's a place where, because of our success, businesses are relocating along with literally millions of Americans, while other states look upon us with envy.
We are the shining star of the union, so to speak, but while basking in our glory, our leaders took their eye off the ball and let us down.
For some, the events of this past week can’t be forgotten fast enough, but for many, they never will.
It’s devastating to see the destruction in my state, horrific to hear of those that didn’t survive and infuriating to know that it all could have been prevented.
As conservatives, we are often quick to call out the left when they overstep or call for more government to solve our problems.
It isn’t that the government in and of itself is the problem, it’s that those in government often are.
Here in Texas, that certainly seems to be our problem, and so I’m calling out those on the right—in my own party who run our state—fix it, or I’m certain Texans will find others who will.
Seth Denson is a Business & Market Analyst, Author and Entrepreneur. He co-founded one of the nation's most successful consulting firms and authored the best-selling book, "The Cure: A Blueprint for Solving America's Healthcare Crisis," which takes a deep dive into the business structure of our U.S. health care system and how we can reform it while maintaining our free market. As a regular on-camera contributor, Seth has garnered a national presence discussing a range of topics including business and economics, politics, faith and fatherhood. Originally from West Texas but with international business experience, Seth's "no-bull" approach blends metropolitan thinking with good old-fashioned Texas straight talk. Read Seth Denson's Reports — More Here.
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