One of the two Texas senators paid a visit to the Sparkling City on the Bay this week.
US Senator Ted Cruz visited the city and port of Corpus Christi on Tuesday to meet with local officials and conclude his trip with a boat trip on the Corpus Christi Ship Channel.
After leaving the boat to enter the Solomon P. Ortiz International Center, the three-year-old Republican stood next to Sean Strawbridge, the chief executive officer of the port, to give a brief press conference about the trip and questions from local media to answer.
Growth of city, port
Houston native, Cruz said he was happy to be in the “vibrant and growing” Coastal Bend, which he says has experienced tremendous growth and now plays a vital role in the country’s energy market.
“When I was a kid, Corpus was a much quieter town. It was a smaller town. It was a beautiful seaside town. But today, Corpus Christi is a thriving energy metropolis,” he said. “Today, Corpus Christi has that beach resort infused with a whole lot of Midland, Texas, (and) a lot of entrepreneurs and people who have good, well-paying jobs taking care of their families.”
The port, which Cruz said he advocated during his 10 years in office, is a key driver of that expansion as a major gateway for the country’s crude oil exports. He said his advocacy played part in part in the Biden administration, which earmarked $157 million for the completion of the Corpus Christi Ship Channel Improvement Project, which aims to widen and dredge the channel to a depth of 54 feet to accommodate larger ships capable of carrying a greater quantity and variety of goods.
That came, he said, after the Biden administration “zeroed out” funding for Texas seaports, a sentiment echoed by Strawbridge in March before the unveiling of the presidential budget proposal.
Cruz said the Port of Corpus Christi and its staff are working “hand in hand” to meet the port’s needs and obtain funding for projects with the least amount of “red tape.” Going forward, Cruz said Texas and its ports could be prime export hubs for selling “clean hydrogen” to global markets — an effort for which the port hired a former US congressman as a lobbyist in hopes of getting federal funding.
“We’re also seeing expansion into new areas like hydrogen, which I think is an exciting area where Texas is leading the way,” he said.
Build new Harbor Bridge
Speaking to local media, Cruz answered questions about the Texas Department of Transportation’s announcement last month to pause construction on the new Harbor Bridge, the port’s role during the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and the FBI’s deprivation of the Palm estate. Former President Donald Trump’s Beach.
Cruz described the interruption of some of the Harbor Bridge’s construction as “frustrating,” but said he understood the need to ensure the design is structurally sound and safe. He echoed statements from state lawmakers in South Texas last month that parties must agree on the design and complete the already delayed project.
“It’s crazy to look at the empty concrete pylons and see that construction has just stopped. I know this has been a long and painful process of multiple designs that were initially considered safe and then not considered safe” , Cruz said, emphasizing the higher vertical. Clearing the new bridge will allow larger vessels to pass through the canal. “I’m hopeful they’ll fix the security issues and fix it and build it soon.”
According to a memo last week, lawmakers pressed TxDOT to release, TxDOT and an independent engineering firm disagree with the project’s developer, Flatiron/Dragados, and his design firm over the proposed design for the guy-wire portion of the bridge. Whether and when the parties will resolve the dispute and to what extent the break will affect the bridge’s completion in 2024 remains to be seen.
FBI raid on Trump’s Florida home
Asked about an FBI raid on Trump’s private club and residence, Mar-a-Lago, Cruz characterized the operation as politically motivated prosecution and a symptom of Biden’s “politicization of the US Department of Justice.”
Echoing many of his Republican colleagues, Cruz called for an investigation into the matter, saying, “I believe Congress should hold hearings, we should have subpoenas, and we should investigate… rival.”
More:Here’s Why Port of Corpus Christi CEO Sean Strawbridge Salary Has Nearly Doubled Since 2018
‘Political Shift’ in South Texas
After answering the local media’s latest question, Cruz took a moment to express his hopes that Republicans would take control of both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate after the November midterm elections, a feat. which he believes may be due to an alleged “political shift” in South Texas.
Cruz specifically pointed to Mayra Flores’ upset victory in a special election earlier this year for Texas’s 34th congressional district, an old blue seat of former Democratic Congresswoman Filemon Vela of Brownsville. Vela left his position to join a leading lobbying firm, which has retained the Port of Corpus Christi.
Flores, who made history as the first Mexican-born woman in Congress, faces a more challenging election in a bluer neighborhood in November’s midterm elections.
After the press conference, Strawbridge thanked Cruz for the visit to the harbour.
“We’ve come a long way, but we have a lot more work to do,” Strawbridge said. “We certainly look forward to following in line with your leadership as we continue to ensure this state remains the most business-friendly state and union.”