Democrat Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump to become the 46th president of the United States on Saturday and offered himself to the nation as a leader who “seeks not to divide, but to unify” a country gripped by a historic pandemic and a confluence of economic and social turmoil.
Biden crossed the winning threshold of 270 Electoral College votes with a win in Pennsylvania. His victory came after more than three days of uncertainty as election officials sorted through a surge of mail-in votes that delayed processing.
Trump refused to concede, threatening further legal action on ballot counting. But Biden used his acceptance speech as an olive branch to those who did not vote for him, telling Trump voters that he understood their disappointment but adding, “Let’s give each other a chance.”
But what will Biden’s election mean for Texas? Particularly North Texas?
Fort Worth Business Press Editor Robert Francis spoke with Chris Wallace, president and CEO of the North Texas Commission, a public-private partnership helps develop and support large impactful projects and legislative issues for the 13-county region. Wallace was formerly the president of the Texas Association of Business.
FWBP: What do you see as the top issues for the new president?
Wallace: To me, the virus is first and foremost, because that’s going to be determined in terms, not only of our physical health, but our economic health of the country. That’s so important. To me, in terms of our economic recovery, that’s got to be first and foremost right now.
We at the commission agree with some of Biden’s policy on immigration. He’s been advocates for immigration reform for a long time. I think we’ll see some changes there, eventually.
I think we’ll see, hopefully, an infrastructure package move forward. That’s a job creator, which is again needed right now for our state and other states to put people back to work who are out of work. And it creates an economic return on investment as well. I think these next several months are going to be critical when the pandemic is taken care of hopefully, or at least to a point where we begin to recover, not only from a health wise, but economic recovery as well.
FWBP: Biden has a public record that’s quite extensive, and it seems like he’s been pretty strong on defense in terms of the industries here in North Texas.
Wallace: We’re going to push that he does. My D.C. lobbyists friends tell me that [Biden and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell] are good friends and hopefully they can maybe agree to disagree, but they understand that we got to work together to get something done.
A Democrat Senate? We’ll find out soon with the runoffs, but that’ll probably be a good backstop if you will for our checks and balances. But regardless, I think Biden is one that’s going to work across the aisle. He’s going to bring all people to the table, hear everybody out and work for what’s good for our country in the end. Let’s put aside who gets the credit, the main thing is we’re at a pivotal point where how we move forward is going to be critical.
FWBP: One industry where there might be a bigger question is energy with Biden’s environmental track record and what he said during the campaign.
Wallace: I don’t think, from what I know and from what I’ve heard, I don’t think he’s anti-fracking. I really don’t. I think he wants to have an interim process or more clean energy on the future, but to my knowledge, he’s not anti-fracking.
I think. I think some of that was blown out of proportion early on, but we’ll see. The energy sector, the oil and gas is vitally important to our state. So that’s what we’re going to have to work together as Republicans and Democrats to make sure that our voices are heard on the important the energy sector is.
It’s still too important to our economy, regionally and statewide, not to. Look, I think Biden is going to be more moderate. With a Republican Senate too, I think that is going to ensure that. But the main thing we’re pushing for is free enterprise. We’ve got to maintain our competitiveness across the world, I think Biden will do that. And equal opportunities, individual liberties. I mean, everybody’s pushing for that. And racial inequity issues are a part of that. Diversity issues, as well. So that’s going to be key. Biden will bring that to the table.
FWBP: I’ve heard some talk from Trump as well as Biden about infrastructure spending. And that seems one that this area has been pushing pretty strongly over the years.
Wallace: You bet. Maybe the president can address that over the next couple of months. I mean, they certainly have been pushing for it. I hope again, we all work together and not who gets the credit for it. That’s easier said than done, but infrastructure investment is going to be key.
A competitive tax and regulatory system. We don’t want to get too far anti-business on regulatory by all means.
We need to do it nationwide like Texas does it. There’s a reason why companies are moving here, that’s our low regulatory system, and how we treat businesses and we’re fair to employees. So that’s what we’re going to be pushing for. Comprehensive immigration reform, as I mentioned, is going to be key.
Trade, expanded trade with little tariffs, if any, that’s going to strengthen our workforce. That’s the ultimate goal is to strengthen the workforce, to put Texans and Americans back to work. Let’s hope we accomplish that and unite. No matter what, we’ve got to unite. I’ve got, as I’m sure you do, family, close friends, colleagues and we work on both sides. What we’ve found at the commission and how we operate as a region in the state is we try to work on both sides to bring everybody together. So that’s going to be the key right now is to unite.
FWBP: Certainly Biden’s campaign was interesting in that he certainly didn’t try to be unnecessarily divisive, I guess I would say.
Wallace: That’s right. Look, I hope with what he campaigned on, I hope that’s what he’ll implement. And I think he will. That is smart, stable solutions oriented governance. I mean, that’s what we need. That stability and solutions-oriented approach, we need that more than ever right now. And it’s going to take us all to get there. It can’t be one party or the other. – Associated Press contributed to this report