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O’Rourke holds rally in Denton County before early voting begins

O’Rourke holds rally in Denton County before early voting begins

O’Rourke holds rally in Denton County before early voting begins
October 20
17:35 2018

U.S. senatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke (D) made one of his final campaign appearances around noon Saturday at The Colony’s Lava Cantina in Denton County to a crowd of about 1,000 people.

O’Rourke spoke about an array of topics, including healthcare, immigration and education. Recalling his campaign trail highlights, O’Rourke’s rhetoric came down to one principle: go vote.

“We’re showing up everyday, everywhere and for everyone,” O’Rourke said to the crowd. “We all need to commit to showing up on Monday [when early voting begins].”

O’Rourke said that, if he is elected senator, he wants to continue to hold town halls all over the state to serve and be held accountable by his potential constituents, regardless of whom they voted for.

Denton County is home to two universities and one college. Multiple polls observe college-aged voters more likely to vote for O’Rourke. At a post-rally press conference, O’Rourke addressed how higher education, apprenticeships, certifications and job training must be affordable in an effort to appeal to this demographic.

“As a country, we have $1.5 trillion in outstanding student loan debt, which is more than all the credit card debt combined,” O’Rourke said. “We’re making it increasingly hard for people to better themselves, which, if they can, will do better for us.”

O’Rourke cited unaffordable education as an issue surrounding a lack of trained professionals, such as Veterans Affairs psychologists and school-teachers “missing from classrooms.” O’Rourke said such professionals need higher education to be ready to teach.

A crowd gathered at The Colony’s Lava Cantina in Denton County on Saturday to listen to U.S. Senate-hopeful Beto O’Rourke (D). Sarah Shaw

“Let’s allow people who have outstanding student loan debt to refinance it at a lower interest rate,” O’Rourke said. “Let’s forgive debt for those who are willing to work in in-demand professions in underserved communities. We see that all over Texas.”

O’Rourke said he wants to invest in the opportunity for Americans to have at least two years of higher education debt-free. O’Rourke said this investment “will not come easy.”

“That means your associate’s degree at a community college,” O’Rourke said. “That means your first two years at UNT. That means your ability to take another step down that path. That means you’re going to earn more in the course of your life.”

Stephanie Broertjes, a UNT alumna, said rising tuition is an issue for her. Broertjes grew up in Texas and initially paid in-state tuition while first attending UNT with a scholarship.

“I got about half of a ride,” Broertjes said. “But then I dropped out about two and a half years in and moved to California. Whenever I moved back after a year, I had to pay out-of-state tuition, which put me about another $12,000 to $13,000 in debt for my last year of college.”

O’Rourke was introduced by actors Mark Consuelos of “Riverdale” and Nicholas Gonzalez of ABC’s show “The Good Doctor.” Consuelos, a father to college-aged children, said there is a need to find other avenues of education in order to combat student loan debt.

“I know going into school now, and with the prospect of having that much debt, is overwhelming.” Consuelos said. “It doesn’t make sense.”

When considering education, Consuelos said the fact that one costs more than another “doesn’t make much sense.”

“To go to a nice school, or what was considered to be a nice school, to have a fancy education, I guess it used to make a difference,” Consuelos said. “I’m not so sure it makes a difference anymore.”

Early voting begins Monday, Oct. 22. Denton County residents can visit votedenton.com for voting locations, dates and times.

Featured Image: Senatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke (D) discussed a variety of topics at The Colony’s Lava Cantina in Denton county. This was his final campaign appearance where he spoke in front of a crowd of about 1,000 on Saturday. Sarah Shaw

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Ally Zarate

Ally Zarate

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