Vice President Kamala Harris visits Austin ahead of mid-term elections


Julius Shieh

Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris, speaks at the Texas Democratic Party Johnson-Jordan Reception on Oct. 9, 2022.

Joseph Sweeney, News Reporter

Vice President Kamala Harris delivered the keynote address for the Texas Democratic Party’s annual Johnson-Jordan Reception, hosted at the Hyatt Regency on Saturday. 

The fundraiser, named after Texas Democrats President Lyndon B. Johnson and Senator Barbara Jordan, supports Democratic candidates appearing on the Nov. 8 ballot. 

“We need to make each and every day count,” Harris said. “We need to remind people here in Texas that this Tuesday is the last day to register to vote. We need to remind people that Texas Democrats are Texas tough.”

Harris said reproductive rights will be one of the deciding factors in this upcoming election season. Harris said Texas Democrats, if elected, would overturn state laws that currently only allow abortions in rare instances to save the life of the mother. If Democrats gain a majority in the U.S. Senate, Harris said they would codify Roe vs. Wade, which was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in June.

“The stakes are high up and down the ballot,” Harris said. “As President of the Senate, I have the distinction of having broken John Adams’ record of tie-breaking votes. I cannot wait to cast the tie-breaking vote to pass voting rights and reproductive health rights.”

Zachary Krakauer Ganz, a communication and leadership senior, said he is a longtime supporter of Harris. Krakauer Ganz said one of the biggest accomplishments of the Democratic party this year is the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act in June, which, among other provisions, capped insulin prices at $35 a month.

“People paying for insulin, even with insurance, are going out of pocket, sometimes even up to $1,000,” Krakauer Ganz said. “As someone with a diabetic in the family, having insulin prices capped makes such a difference – that money can go better spent on other family expenses.”

Krakauer Ganz also volunteers with the party by helping fellow students register to vote. Harris said Texas has seen over 300,000 new voters register since June.  

Gilberto Hinojosa, chairman of the Texas Democratic Party, said this is “the most consequential election in Texas history.” 

According to poll aggregate FiveThirtyEight, incumbent Governor Greg Abbot has consistently held a seven-point lead over his Democratic challenger, former state representative Beto O’Rourke, since mid-September. Hinojosa, however, said he is optimistic after seeing President Joe Biden win the most votes from Texas of any Democrat in a presidential election. 

“It’s going to take every one of us in this room and all of our friends and our family knocking on our neighbor’s doors, sending texts, calling every single person in our contacts list, in our churches, in our neighborhoods and in our kids’ schools,” Hinojosa said. “We will win this election.” 

Harris said she hopes this election will follow the nation-wide successes the party has seen this year with regards to healthcare, inflation and student loan debt, among other fields.

Looking towards the future, Harris said the party will continue efforts to legalize marijuana, combat unemployment and expand voting rights. 

“The struggle for justice is a never ending process and freedom is never really won: you earn it and win it each and every generation,” Harris said. “We are picking up the movement that was inspired by leaders, like LBJ and Barbara Jordan.”