During Gov. Greg Abbott's State of the State address Monday, he talked about the priorities of his legislative agenda and recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.
The governor focused on the pandemic successes in Texas. While there have been issues along the way and more than 36,000 deaths, Abbott said things are moving in the right direction.
"Our hearts are with those who suffered from COVID. And we mourn for every single Texan who lost their lives to the virus," he said. "Texas was the first state to vaccinate more than one million residents. Just two weeks later, we exceeded two million vaccinations. That number will increase even faster in the coming weeks as additional vaccines are approved."
Abbott touted job grow. In December, 64,000 jobs were added. This as tens of thousands of unemployment claims continued to be filed each week. The current unemployment rate is 7.2%.
"Our comeback is already materializing. Texas has added new jobs for eight months in a row," he said. "In December alone, Texas added more than 64,000 new jobs. Texans are returning to work."
The pandemic has changed the way students learn. Some districts in the metro are seeing learning gap problems.
Abbott talked about closing the digital divide in schools.
"The state partnered with school districts to provide internet connectivity and e-learning devices for schools and students," he said. "Investments like these are a victory for teachers, students, and parents as we provide our children with a quality education regardless of their zip code."
Multiple Texas Democrats, including former HUD Secretary Julian Castro, gave the response to Gov. Abbott’s speech. They criticized him for his response to the pandemic.
State Rep. Chris Turner (D-Arlington) is the chair of House Democrats. He talked about healthcare.
"Our communities have been ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are also facing a challenging economic reality. The state has to step up and get back to work," Turner said. "This legislative session, Texas House Democrats will fight to expand healthcare access for millions of uninsured Texans. We will fight for continued coverage for continuous coverage for children and their mothers so they are not kicked off when they need it the most. We will fight for health equity."
Gov. Abbott talked about policing, saying he wants a law passed that will prevent any city from defunding the police. He also acknowledged that there has to be some kind of police training as well.