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Safely Moving Forward

Jul 10, 2020
Column

As the fight against COVID-19 continues, we must demonstrate that we can confront the challenges of the virus while still taking deliberate steps to safely reopen the economy. There is no substitute for restaurants filled with patrons, classrooms full of children, or retail storefronts packed with American consumers. Prior to the pandemic, our American economy was stronger than it had been in decades with more jobs than people and record low unemployment.

While forced government shutdowns crippled our ability to safeguard jobs, the government provided several lifelines in the form of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), economic stimulus and enhanced unemployment benefits. The PPP was overwhelmingly successful in Texas’ 25th District, with nearly 6,000 small businesses receiving relief and over 58,000 jobs preserved. If you’re small business that has not used the PPP, my office can help you apply for the remaining $130 billion in funds from the Small Business Administration. 

We must also commit our focus to safely allowing students to re-enter the classroom. Long months without access to direct learning and ample resources have been a heavy strain upon our youngest generation. Both the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics advocate strongly that children should physically be present in school so that they are able to interact with other students. Keeping schools closed poses a greater health risk due to isolation and the lack of emotional support students may not be receiving at home.

As both a father and former educator, I know how important it is for our youth to be in a classroom environment that not only allows them to learn but gives them the ability to foster friendships and develop social skills. Many students also receive critical physical and mental health services at school, all of which are lost as long as we keep them closed.

Parents have played a tremendous role in our communities over the last few months transitioning to educating at home, often while working their own part-time or full-time job remotely. I am grateful for all of the men and women who have stepped up and devoted time and energy to their child’s education. We must work together to ensure students, and teachers, can safely go back to school while families and businesses alike adapt to new routines and realities.

We have an opportunity to continue making great strides in the great American comeback, but we need to do so responsibly. I’ll keep working hard for you to provide resources that will move us forward and protect 25th District Texans.