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Immigration, energy and the coronavirus: The last presidential debate has Houstonians comparing notes

After the final Presidential debate, a trio of topics are now trending across Texas.

HOUSTON — After Thursday night’s presidential debate, a trio of topics is now trending across Texas: the coronavirus, immigration and energy -- specifically the move from oil and gas to renewable sources

You can’t run a marathon, catch an Astros game or even go to the rodeo at NRG Park without the help of oil and gas. These companies drive Houston, the energy capital of the world.

Even after last night’s presidential debate, energy expert and University of Houston Energy Fellow Ed Hirs said, bottom line, “eliminating oil and gas is not going to happen, not in the Biden Administration. Not in our lifetimes. ... We’ve got 1-3 billion people across this world who are not yet in the 21st Century because they don’t have access to 21st Century electricity.”

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While other corners of the world race to catch up, Texas is blazing trails. 

From the Rio Grande Valley all the way up to the panhandle, wind farms are generating more than 25,000 jobs for Texas. The state leads the nation in wind energy.

“We’ve been building the wind farms and the transmission lines to bring electricity to market,” Hirs said. “And so we are very, very well positioned, going forward as a state.”

Climate change and Texas

“Our state and our city have been hit hard by climate change. We know what it’s like to see our streets be flooded. Our cars underwater,” said Antonio Arellano. “So we’ve got to come to terms with the fact that we must innovate.”

Antonio Arellano works to encourage Latino voters through the nonprofit Jolt Initiative.

Immigration and Texas

“In terms of immigration, one out of every six Texans are either immigrants or children of immigrants,” Arellano said. “When you talk about immigration, you’re talking about our families here in Texas.”

That’s why many are concerned about the more than 500 undocumented children still waiting to be reunited with their parents after being separated at the border.

“The trauma that these children are being subjected to will change their lives forever,” Arellano said. “This is not American.”

Coronavirus and Texas

Texas is also tracking an uptick in people hospitalized for COVID-19, again. 

So Thursday night’s presidential debate on America’s next move grabbed Laolu Davies' attention.

“Yes, 99 percent of people survive, but not dying should not be the only thing that we’re worried about with this disease,” said Davies-Yemitan a political strategist. “There are a lot of long-term health effects that people are going to be dealing with for decades that we don’t even know yet, because we don’t have the dataset.”

That’s exactly why Houston hospitals, doctors and researchers are running studies and post COVID-19 clinics. Because Texans are focused on healthcare during this pandemic and beyond.

“We need to stay hopeful, but healthy,” Arellano said. “And in order to do that, we need to make sure that we are safeguarding our families, activating ourselves and being proactive to tackle this pandemic.”