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Ted Cruz tours Waco trade school, discusses 'demand' for skilled workers in Texas

He went to Texas State Technical College to observe three of the school's top five programs: welding, precision machining and aviation.

WACO, Texas — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz made a stop in Waco on Wednesday to tour Texas State Technical College to discuss jobs and his goal of increasing students in trade, technical and vocational schools.

He went to the technical college to observe three of the school's top five programs: welding, precision machining and aviation.

He said there is high demand in the state for skilled workers, especially because of the pandemic which created an ongoing economic hardship, but Cruz believes that hardship can now be turned around with the country open and opportunities out there.

"The vacancies dramatically exceed the number of people that are looking for work and so there are opportunities out there if somebody wants to work," Cruz said. "You can't find a business, whether in Waco, or across Texas or across the country, you can't find a business that's not hiring."

The Republican senator tweeted Monday pushing for people to get jobs as unemployment benefits expire, and had much push back following it.

"I was amused, seeing a lot of folks on the left just triggered by my tweet yesterday saying get a job -- I'm sorry that is really damn good advice and if their answer to people out of work is don't get a job and stay home and keep getting the government check, you are selling deception of people," Cruz fired back.

The Department of Labor reported in August there were more jobs than unemployed people, that's why Cruz has a goal of increasing students in trade, technical and vocational schools, like Texas State Technical College.

"People are moving to Texas because Texas is where the jobs are. In the Senate, my number one priority is jobs, jobs, jobs because what Texans want, we want more jobs and higher wages. We want more opportunity and helping Texans get the skills to be a highly-skilled workforce," Cruz said.

A highly skilled workforce is what Cruz argues is a critical part of competing in the 21st century.

"I'm hopeful it's one of the reasons why I'm fighting so hard in the Senate for the scholarship funds that would enable technical colleges and vocational schools to dramatically expand the number of students that are able to assist," he added. 

Not only did the senator spend the day encouraging people to get back to work, he also encouraged people to get the vaccine. Cruz, who is vaccinated himself, said he thinks the vaccine is terrific and doing work against COVID-19.

Although he encourages Americans to get vaccinated, he doesn't support mandating vaccines or any mandates in regard to the coronavirus pandemic for that matter, including masks and vaccine passports.

"We don't need the heavy hand of government forcing you to make what should be personal healthcare decisions," he explained.

Cruz has spoken in favor of Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order banning mask mandates in schools so 6 News asked him what he has to say to the Central Texas school districts and students that have lost teachers to COVID-19 in the first month of school. 

He didn't answer the question directly, he re-established that vaccines and masks should be personal decisions and common sense needs to be used.

"We as a country have taken extraordinary steps to combat this disease and whether it is using science and common sense in terms of the vaccine," he added. "I'm encouraging people to take the vaccine, but I also believe in individual choice and individual responsibility, it ought to be up to you to make decisions about your health care."