Beto O’Rourke hosts a “People of Texas” Town Hall meeting

Governor+candidate+Beto+ORourke+hosted+a+town+hall+at+the+El+Paso+Community+Foundation+on+Sunday%2C+March+27.

Alberto Silva Fernandez

Governor candidate Beto O’Rourke hosted a town hall at the El Paso Community Foundation on Sunday, March 27.

Kristen Scheaffer, Staff Reporter

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke made a pitstop to his home city of El Paso, Texas during his “People of Texas” state tour. He addressed El Pasoans in an intimate rally held at the El Paso Community Foundation at 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 27. 

The event opened with El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego welcoming O’Rourke with words of support.  

“There are 254 county judges who would be very foolish not to support our Beto. I can tell you, that at a local level, Beto is a man who understands local government, coming back from his father being a county judge,” Samaniego said.  

Jessica Garcia, survivor of the Walmart mass shooting, also spoke, introducing O’Rourke and how they met after the Walmart tragedy and the impact he had on her family in the aftermath.  

“‘Do you guys need anything?’ ‘How are you doing?’ Even though I’ve had a stressful day, it’s just that little message that shows and that says a lot about the type of person he is, and how much he cares about us as humans,” Garcia said.  

Once front and center, O’Rourke touched on topics important to him and what he felt united Texans, no matter their political affiliation. One of the topics touched on was job opportunities and working wages.  

“Four out of 10 working Texans do not make a living wage in the state,” O’Rourke said. “And what that means is that they’re working a second job or a third shift. It means they’re on public assistance.” 

He spoke on the various obstacles affecting this including Texas’ minimum wage, lack of proper training and instruction to help Texans meet their potential, and women making a fraction of men’s wages to name a few. He also focused on teachers and the wages they currently have in comparison to their work, stating they need an additional $7,500 to meet the baseline.  

In addition, O’Rourke addressed the voting gap from 2018 between him and Texas Senator Ted Cruz. He went into details stating the gap was a total of 216,000 votes compared to 2020 where 40,000 people were newly registered to vote. He expanded on going door to door and speaking with fellow El Pasoans about the importance of voting.  

He touched on both women’s reproductive rights and the new bill passed prosecuting parents in support of transgender children. 

“Instead of a government that wants you to turn in the parents of transgender kids to prosecute them for child abuse is going to be replaced by one that’s going to fix child protective services and look out for the 30,000 kids,” O’Rourke said.  

O’Rourke reached out to those in attendance hoping to answer questions they had. One of the questions raised was the the possibility of marijuana being legalized. 

“When it’s not regulated or controlled, we have no ability really to keep it out of the reach of our kids. I think legalizing it, regulating it, controlling the sale-not only do all the things that we just talked about, but we give ourselves a better chance of keeping it out of the hands, out of the bloodstream and out of the brains of those kids,” O’Rourke said.  

One of O’Rourke’s final big focuses came from a question from a concerned father. His question was O’Rourke’s stance on censorship within the classroom for children. 

O’Rourke opened up about Texas history and the foundations they were built on: democracy, personal freedom, liberty, and justice. He used these foundations to explain how they are used as reference for building and striving to be a better state. O’Rourke said he believed the youth to be strong enough to hear the country’s true history.  

 

Kristen Scheaffer is a staff reporter and can be reached at [email protected]