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Hundreds turn out for Town Hall with Texas’ Democratic Candidate for US Senate Beto O’Rourke

Hundreds turn out for Town Hall with Texas’ Democratic Candidate for US Senate Beto O’Rourke

April 20
21:12 2018

Hundreds of people attended a town hall with Beto O’Rourke, Texas’ Democratic candidate for U.S. Senator. The town hall took place from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday at the Gateway Center at UNT.

If he wins, O’Rourke, who is running against incumbent Ted Cruz, will be the first Texas Democrat elected to the U.S. Senate since 1988.

O’Rourke dove into his speech by first talking about immigration.

“Though we are comprised of asylum-seekers and refugees, the very foundation of our strength, our success and yes, our security, is that we are the destination of choice for people, in no state more so than the state of Texas, the most diverse state in the most diverse country on the planet,” O’Rourke said.

Overflow rooms were needed to seat more people. Organizers live streamed the town hall for those attendees. 

The event began at about 11:25 a.m. with UNT Democrats President Jordan Villarreal introducing Democratic candidates who attended the event such as Linsey Fagan and Mat Pruneda, among others. 

O’Rourke took the stage at around 11:30 a.m. and received a standing ovation from the audience.

Photo by Sara Carpenter

“I am so privileged and lucky to be part of something that is giving me so much hope at a time that, I gotta tell you, I desperately needed it, where I began to question just where this country was going and what we were capable, still, of doing,” O’Rourke said, after thanking organizers and attendees. 

He touched on the current state of health care in Texas.

“This bold, courageous, strong, big-hearted state is the least insured state of the 50 in the Union. More than 4 million of our fellow Texans have no insurance whatsoever,” O’Rourke said. “I think that this state could be the one to lead the way for the country, to guarantee high-quality universal healthcare for each and every single man, woman and child in the United States of America.”

Talking about the role of people in a Democratic society, O’Rourke said it is about more than just showing up to town halls and voting on November 6 in the general election. 

“It is about listening to and working with the people in your life,” he said. “As the son of a Republican mother, who we have convinced to vote for me in this election, I know that we’ve gotta be open to everyone, listen to everyone, try to understand everyone in our lives.”

O’Rourke ended his speech by taking pictures of the crowd and saying, “In this year, 2018, if we don’t get a picture of the fact that we were here and share this with the world on social media, then it just did not happen.”

Following his remarks at the town hall, there was a question and answer session where attendees asked O’Rourke about a variety of issues including immigration, women’s health and education.

“As we know you’re for Medicaid for all,” one attendee asked. “What will we do with the [Veterans’ Administration] once we [move] over to a Medicaid-for-all system?”

O’Rourke answered the question by affirming his position on keeping the VA as it is.

“The VA doesn’t go anywhere,” O’Rourke said. “It continues to be, and maybe with even greater investment and oversight and accountability, a center of excellence for the care of veterans.”

Aileene Stark, a retired teacher who attended the town hall, said this was the first town hall she has attended.

“I was already a Beto supporter,” she said. “But I wanted to see him in person and hear him.”

Another attendee, Eddie Ledesma-Porter, who works as a beverage consultant, said he read about Beto and liked what he heard.

“My reasoning for wanting to hear him speak was not taking any money from [political action committees],” Porter said. “[That] was the biggest thing. His commitment to visiting all the Texas counties makes me feel like he cares for all Texans, which I think is huge.”

In Texas, primary runoff elections will occur on May 22 while the general election will take place on November 6.

Featured Image: Representative Beto O’Rourke, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, speaks at the University of North Texas Friday. Sara Carpenter

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Lizzy Spangler

Lizzy Spangler

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  1. Tesswyatt
    Tesswyatt April 21, 07:36

    Thanks for sharing the tone and detail of the townhall. I’m liking what I hear from Beto but the story isn’t over yet. Looking forward to more reporting like this. In the field, straight up information.

    Reply to this comment
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    clash royale free gems android April 23, 19:12

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