Beto O’Rourke hosts event in West El Paso to thank supporters

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Beto O’Rourke hosts event in West El Paso to thank supporters

Rebecca Reza/ The Prospector
Supporters of Beto O'Rourke gather to grab a photo and chat with the former Presidential candidate.

Rebecca Reza/ The Prospector Supporters of Beto O'Rourke gather to grab a photo and chat with the former Presidential candidate.

Rebecca Reza/ The Prospector Supporters of Beto O'Rourke gather to grab a photo and chat with the former Presidential candidate.

Rebecca Reza/ The Prospector Supporters of Beto O'Rourke gather to grab a photo and chat with the former Presidential candidate.

Rebecca Reza, Contributor

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Former Democratic Presidential Candidate and native El Pasoen Beto O’Rourke was on hand Thursday night to host an appreciation event at Hope & Anchor in West El Paso. The former Congressman thanked supporters for their time and effort in both his Senate and Presidential campaigns over the past two years. O’Rourke had lost the Senate seat in 2018 to incumbent Ted Cruz in the closest margin in Texas in more than 30 years. He announced the end to his Presidential campaign earlier this month.

As the country is glued to the current Congressional impeachment hearings of President Donald Trump, O’Rourke spoke of the responsibility current political leaders have, afforded to them by the American people, to stand up to fear and hate. He went on to reference the fear that many people in the country are currently living in, from DACA recipients to immigrants to people of color, and spoke to how important it is to support them.

“The fake, fabricated fear the President wants us to be afraid of one another, and the fear that too many political leaders have of not doing the right thing when it’s right in front of them because they’re worried about the political consequences or what it will mean in the next election,” O’Rourke said.  “All my best lessons to reject all of that came from this community.”

Young people in and around Texas were instrumental during his run.

UTEP student Claudia Flores is a sophomore studying business marketing who was at the event, and a DACA recipient living in El Paso. Born in Mexico, she was brought to the United States as a young child, the only member of her family born outside of the U.S. and the first to attend college. Due to her DACA status, she is not able to vote, but instead uses her voice to support candidates like O’Rourke, marching alongside him in various immigration protests the candidate has held in El Paso, and volunteering to register new voters.

“I wish I could vote. Being a DACA recipient is really hard right now. There is a lot of stress and anxiety to know that something can be taken away from you from one day to the next,” Flores said. “I’m a student at UTEP thanks to Beto and the job he has done helping immigrants. I’ve been following him since 2015, seeing the growth that he has had. I’m very appreciative to everything he has done and look up to him. He’s a really good role model.”

Steven Garza, UTEP freshmen in political science and history, and Alejandra Macias, UTEP freshmen studying graphic design, echoed concerns and appreciation for O’Rourke in encouraging their involvement in the election process. Both are planning to vote next November.

“It’s very important for us as students, as the young people in our country, to be a part of the elections coming up,” Garza said. “Often times people will write young people off as part of the process. We’re here to show them that we’re here, we care and we’re going to vote.”

The Democratic primary to choose a Presidential nominee for the 2020 elections takes place next June. There are currently more than a dozen candidates in the running with several debates being held periodically throughout the following six months. O’Rourke has stated he will not endorse any one candidate, but encouraged supporters to do whatever possible to support and fight for the chosen nominee in 2020.

“The core of this effort, the reason for running came from El Paso,” O’Rourke told the crowd. “There is going to be a legacy from what we did together. The way that we campaigned, it’s influencing the other candidates that are in the race and the conversation the country is having. For me as a candidate, it might have ended, but let us all commit ourselves to do whatever we can to make sure Texas plays a decisive role and that El Paso is a forefront of that effort and conversation.”

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