Texas may be an oil state, but that hasn’t stopped Senate candidates from speaking about the need for change.
In a wide ranging interview last week, the Signal spoke with U.S. Senate candidate and Air Force pilot MJ Hegar about the nexus between energy, climate change, job growth, as well as the refugee crisis and and incumbent GOP senator John Cornyn as follower, not leader.
Hegar is one of several Democratic candidates hoping to secure the Democratic nomination in March. So far, she has raised $2 million, more than any other candidate in the primary. New fundraising numbers are expected by the end of the month.
On the economy, Hegar said it was important to look at policy through the lens of the climate crisis.
“My number one issue is climate change,” Hegar said. “I look at the energy industry here in Texas and I’m very concerned about how many jobs we have dependent on the fossil fuel industry given the fact that that is not the way our community and the world are trending. I look at it almost like our energy industry is going to go the way of Blockbuster instead of the way of Netflix. We need to have our foot in the next big innovation of technology and business, specifically renewable energy.”
Hegar also talked about how Washington politics are broken, something she said was largely due to a lack of elected officials from working-class backgrounds. “A lot of people in office have never had to face the challenges that they’ve been charged with legislating solutions to.”
Last week, Cornyn scurried away from Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to block refugees from resettling in Texas. While a federal court has temporarily blocked the Trump administration’s executive order that allows states to block refugees, the moment was particularly revealing for Cornyn, who said he may have a “private conversation with the governor”– but ultimately dodged the question of whether he thought Texas should close the door on refugees fleeing political violence.
“We’re seeing a continuation of a pattern where he doesn’t think for himself,” Hegar said of Cornyn. “He has to check in with his party leaders and he has to check in with his political cronies and corporate donors before he can form an opinion about what he thinks is right and wrong.”
And Team Hegar is confident they can pull out a win, first in March, then in November.
“We’re very confident that we’re going to win the primary and, more importantly, we’re very confident that we’re going to retire John Cornyn,” she said.