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Week One of Sen. Cruz’s Statewide Tele-Tour

Connects with community & business leaders in Austin, Houston, Beaumont, Tyler, Lufkin, and Texarkana

HOUSTON, Texas - In the first week of his virtual statewide tele-tour across the Lone Star State, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) connected with communities in Central, Southeast, and East Texas who are on the frontlines combatting COVID-19.

On Monday, Sen. Cruz kicked off the tour in Austin with members of the Texas Hospital Association. He spoke with them about the challenges they are facing fighting this virus. Later in the day, he spoke with members of the Texas Trucking Association, to hear how they are keeping supplies and food moving to all areas of the state.

In an interview with Roll Call's Niels Lesniewski, Sen. Cruz said:

"In my time in the Senate, I have seen multiple disasters befall the state of Texas, from Hurricane Harvey - the second most costly disaster in U.S. history - to the explosion in West, Texas. Every time we face disaster, Texans help fellow Texans, first responders step into the breach, and we come together. [...] 

"I am working to do exactly the same thing, to be there on the ground in the affected communities, but to do so virtually, and between telephone and video conferences, we're able to hear the concerns of Texans and discuss the challenges we're facing."

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Sen. Cruz spoke with members of the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Beaumont Chamber of Commerce about how the U.S. can best move forward with a strong economy after this pandemic is defeated.

As Sen. Cruz said this week:

"I hope we get back to work soon. We will get back to work once we see the numbers coming down and once we get this pandemic under control, that's when we are going to be able to talk about getting people back to work, to get the economy in recovery and roaring again."

On Thursday, Sen. Cruz held calls with members of the Tyler Economic Development Council and Lufkin Economic Development Council. He later spoke with job creators and local leaders of the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Council.

As Sen. Cruz said at the beginning of the tour on Monday:

"This pandemic has affected how we all live, work, and play - but it hasn't changed the fact that in times of crisis, Texans always step up to help each other."

Here's what news outlets are saying:

CBS News: Members of Congress connect with constituents while working from home
"Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, is taking advantage of his time working from home to connect with constituents remotely. This week, Cruz conducted a ‘tele-tour' of communities responding to the coronavirus pandemic using phone calls and video conferences. The tours included calls with organizations like the Texas Hospital Association, the Texas Trucking Association, the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and other regional economic development councils. In an interview with CBS News, Cruz said that he typically would go to places to meet with constituents in the wake of a natural disaster like Hurricane Harvey, but working remotely meant moving those interactions online or to the telephone. ‘The responsibility is the same, but given the social distancing guidelines, it is neither feasible nor advisable to be everywhere in person,' Cruz said. ‘So I'm doing the same thing, but virtually.'"

Roll Call: Amid coronavirus, Ted Cruz's Texas tour goes virtual
"Like so many others, Cruz is communicating from the friendly confines of his own home because of the social distancing necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. [...] This week, Cruz ‘met' with the Texas Trucking Association, Texas Hospital Association, multiple chambers of commerce and energy executives from across the Lone Star state. Texas Trucking Association President and CEO John Esparza said in an interview that it was the senator's office that reached out to set up a virtual meeting, which about 25 members of the business group attended in an effort to provide a diverse set of perspectives with the industry. ‘We as a membership regularly go to Washington and take a group and talk about our issues,' Esparza said, saying they approached the virtual meeting Monday much like a fly-in. Cruz fielded a variety of questions in a conversation that went about an hour, Esparza said. As is true for many small businesses and smaller operators, Esparza said members expressed a ‘lot of anxiety and unsettling about what comes next.'"

KTRK: Sen. Cruz to Saudis: "You're supposed to be our friends, so damn well act like it"
"Senator Ted Cruz is on what he's calling a tele-town hall tour. The Houston Republican is visiting with constituents from across the state from his Houston home. He told ABC13 in a Skype interview from his home, he knows the economic disaster is as big or bigger of a concern for most Texans than the virus. So many are out of work. Oil prices are low. It is a mess. But he said help is coming from the $2.2 trillion stimulus package, a measure that passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. The IRS should distribute funds this month. ‘A couple earning a $150,000 a year or less with three kids is going to get a check for $3,900,' he said. ‘That's designed to be real, immediate relief for families that may be scared, maybe lost their job, may not be sure how they're going to pay the rent next month.'"

WATCH: Sen. Cruz Speaks with KTRK's Tom Abrahams About Providing Relief to Texas During the COVID-19 Crisis

Beaumont Enterprise: 3 takeaways from Sen. Ted Cruz about coronavirus impact
"Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, spoke to economic leaders and business owners during a virtual conference hosted by the Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Texas economy and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and. Economic Security Act (CARES) recently passed by Congress. [...] To start the nearly hour-long question and answer session with attendees, Sen. Cruz outlined his concerns with what he called the three crises plaguing the nation: the COVID-19 Pandemic, the economic fallout of infection prevention and the oil price ware affecting Texas oil and gas companies."

Houston Chronicle: Congress eyes $250B more in coronavirus relief as small business loan requests surge
"A new loan program meant to help small businesses weather the coronavirus outbreak has been overwhelmed by a crush of applications, and Congress is already scrambling to pump more money into the effort. [...] Since Friday when the program went online, lenders have been flooded with applications - including a year's worth submitted to one Texas bank in the program's first few days. As the banks struggle to keep up with the demand, some businesses are complaining that they've asked for help and heard nothing back. The rush has Congress looking to bolster the program by as much as $250 billion. ‘There is a good likelihood that Congress this week will take up and pass additional legislation ... providing yet more funding to this program in particular,' U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, said on a conference call with the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday."

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