AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Texans poured into the streets around the State Capitol in Austin after finding out Joe Biden won enough electoral votes to carry him into the White House.
Some of those demonstrators were hoisting Biden flags and cheering for the Democrat and his running mate, Kamala Harris, who will become the first woman, first person of African descent and first person of Asian descent to hold the title of Vice President of the United States.
Other demonstrators held high flags with Donald Trump’s name on them, calling for recounts and donning red “Make America Great Again” hats, reminding those watching that Texas is a conservative state.
“I feel a lot of optimism, I feel a lot of relief and hope,” State Senator Carol Alvarado, D-Houston, said Saturday.
Alvarado, who chairs the Texas Senate Democratic Caucus, said she expected the Biden Administration to jump immediately into working on issues relating to healthcare and unemployment.
“This doesn’t have to be a situation where we choose the pandemic, or the economy, we can walk and chew gum at the same time,” Alvarado said.
“We have too many things to take care of here in Texas,” she said. “We have to address the pandemic, we have to get the economy going, we have in such a large sector of our economy that our budget is based on that is hurting and how do we turn that around?”
“That’s not a red or blue issue,” Alvarado continued. “That is a Texas issue.”
The Lone Star State is a top exporter of oil, and with a turbulent market in 2020, oil workers have worried about job security, particularly after Biden referenced a possible transition from oil reliance during the presidential debates.
“There’s a lot of big ticket items to tackle this session,” State Rep. Jared Patterson, R-Frisco, said Saturday. “But I think it’s more important than ever to make sure that we protect our oil and gas system, that we make sure that there’s not a government takeover of our healthcare, and I think that it’s even more important now than ever before that we protect our first responders, make sure that they’re taken care of if they’re fully funded, and make sure that we protect our Second Amendment.”
President Donald Trump has been friendly with Texas during his administration, making more than a dozen visits to the Lone Star State. Patterson expressed concern of a Biden administration, stating “If we go by the rhetoric on the campaign trail, they’re not going to be a friend of Texas at all.”
“At the end of the day, Texas has to be the red wall that stops the liberal agenda from the far left out of Washington, DC,” Patterson said. “We’ve got to stand up for Texans, we’ve got to stand up for our economy, our workers, and we’ve got to make sure that they have a job that they can go to every day, to feed their families to live their lives.”
U.S. Senator John Cornyn, R-Texas, immediately turned his attention to Georgia, where two Senate runoffs will decide the makeup of the upper chamber.
“A Democratic majority in the Senate would cinch the radical agenda of the left. They must be stopped on January 5th in Georgia,” he tweeted Saturday morning.
Congressman Lloyd Doggett, an Austin-area Democrat, said liberals in Congress will have to cross party lines, partially because of the Republican-controlled Senate.
“We also have in the balance two Senate races in Georgia, which could tie the Senate,” Doggett said. “I think that we have to hope there’s a willingness to work together.”
“I hope, knowing that our new government is constrained by a Republican senate in doing some of the things I would like to see accomplished, that we can find that way that path forward to address our most immediate challenges and lend support to the Biden-Harris team,” Doggett said.
The chair of the Republican Party of Texas, LTC (ret) Allen West said a Biden presidency would only bolster the Lone Star State’s status as a red state.
“If the progressive socialist left believes for one minute that Texas will acquiesce to their collectivism and tyranny, they are delusional,” he wrote in a statement.
Texas Democratic Party chair Gilberto Hinojosa welled up in tears during a Zoom call Saturday afternoon.
“It’s been a nightmare for a lot of us,” he said. “When you see children caged, when you see people who, because of their sexual preference, are denied the right to serve in our military, when you see people who don’t have access to health care… it’s hard to see, it’s hard to deal with.”
“He (Biden) needed to win, we need to come together and this nation repair a lot of the damage that has been done.,” Hinojosa said.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.