Harvey tests political opposites in Texas' Abbott, Turner

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Harvey’s devastation is testing two Texas leaders whose private types are as divergent as their politics.

Houston Democratic Mayor Sylvester Turner is a former longtime state lawmaker who made a profession of impassioned defenses of liberal laws that had no hope of passing the GOP-managed Legislature. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott units the agenda in his deep purple state utilizing a measured, lawyerly demeanor.

The 2 have already got clashed over conflicting directions on whether or not to evacuate Houston forward of Harvey’s lethal floods, and there could possibly be extra rigidity coming. It underscores the rift between Texas’ massive cities, that are virtually all Democrat-run, and the Republican-dominated Legislature and statewide workplaces.

Nonetheless, Turner and Abbott should work collectively, together with the Trump administration, to get well from the heaviest tropical downpour in U.S. historical past – regardless of deep ideological variations.

“Opposed circumstances all the time convey out true nature – and the extra extreme, the more true the character,” stated Invoice Miller, a veteran Texas political advisor who has labored for Democrats and Republicans.

Abbott uncharacteristically seized the highlight final week as Harvey was nearing his state’s Gulf Coast. He stated Houston residents “ought to strongly think about evacuating” even when not informed to take action by native officers: “You could have the facility and the power to keep away from being caught right into a search and rescue state of affairs.”

Turner and Republican Harris County Decide Ed Emmett responded that Harvey wasn’t forecast to hit Houston instantly and urged individuals to experience out the storm at house. After Hurricane Rita in 2005, evacuation orders got here too late and hundreds of thousands of individuals clogged highways directly, snarling visitors and contributing to one hundred-plus deaths.

“There isn’t a want, at this level, for individuals to be fascinated with leaving, getting on the street, placing themselves in higher hazard,” Turner stated. Added Emmett, whose county encompasses Houston: “We aren’t speaking a few hurricane in Houston. We’re speaking a few rain occasion.”

Now, with the demise toll from floods nonetheless rising and the type of water rescues Abbott warned of chillingly commonplace, the governor is not pointing fingers, saying, “Now is just not the time to second-guess.” Turner has repeatedly defended his pre-storm…

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