The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Beto back in Brazos County

Photo by Photo by Jesse Everett

Congressman Beto O’Rourke has visited all 254 counties in Texas, campaigning for U.S. Senate against incumbent Senator Ted Cruz. 

Despite the rainy weather, community members and students turned out to Wayside Food Park on Sunday for Congressman Beto O’Rourke’s College Station town hall.
O’Rourke will seek to unseat incumbent Senator Ted Cruz in this year’s midterm elections and if successful, will become the first Democratic senator elected in Texas since 1988.
Since one major component of O’Rourke’s campaign platform is bipartisanship, he encouraged everyone to reach across the aisle.
“Democrats, Independents and Republicans alike [are] coming together for this country at this deeply divided, highly polarised moment in our history,” O’Rourke said. “Putting party affiliation, any other small differences — geography, race, sexual orientation, how long you’ve been in this country, whether you just got here last week — we put all of that stuff aside and we come together for this country.”
O’Rourke said he was able to play a role in passing legislation that expands mental healthcare for veterans, something he credits to finding common ground with his Republican colleagues.
“That is frowned upon by the party bosses who say ‘Hey Beto, you’re making the Republicans look good, it’s going to be harder for us to knock them out in the next election cycle,’’’ O’Rourke said. “And that may be true, but my job is to do my best while I can, where I can and where I am for the people of this country.”
O’Rourke said that while the cost of higher education is an issue most directly concerning university students, it has major consequences for the state at large.
“Affordability of higher education in a country that has $1.5 trillion in outstanding student loan debt is fundamental to the success of our country over the long-term,” O’Rourke said. “[It is] fundamental to the access of higher education for every Texan, regardless of their means or their income, and is an investment that Texas can lead the way in making to ensure that we get the maximum productivity and potential out of every single person in this state and this country.”
According to O’Rourke, the state needs to stop the modern day slavery and human trafficking that is taking place along the Texas-Mexico border.
“We’ve got to get behind those 20,000 border patrol agents who protect this country and every single community,” O’Rourke said. “What we do not need is a wall that will not be built on the international boundary, which is the centerline of the Rio Grande River. That’s not where they’re going build the wall folks — they’re going to build it on your ranch, on your farm, on your home, on your private property, miles into the interior of the United States.”
O’Rourke said he intends to take a fiscally conservative approach by changing current government spending habits.
“I think we are the most conservative candidate and the most conservative campaign,” O’Rourke said. “I’m trying to make the moral argument to you and I’m also trying to lay the fiscal logic, by investing in Pre-K for $10 thousand versus keeping someone in prison for $22 thousand. Paying $14.50 for outpatient mental healthcare versus $400 a night to lock someone up for their schizophrenia when they cannot be treated in this country.”
President of the Aggie Democrats and political science sophomore Regan Thompson was one of the organizers of the town hall. Thompson said he supports O’Rourke because he believes he will truly represent his constituents after election.
“I love that it’s a grassroots campaign,” Thompson said. “He doesn’t take any money from super PACs or anything like that. After hearing him speak, I think that everyone can attest that he’s just a guy who really cares about the people he represents. You don’t get that from Cruz. What you get from Cruz is somebody that’s going to run for president in 2020.”
Bryan-College Station resident Irma Pineda said she knows O’Rourke will have to compromise in order to get things done, and she intends to support him when he does.
“I see the big divide in our nation right now, and I felt like Beto is refreshing,” Pineda said. “He’s not trying to divide us, he’s trying to unite us, whatever party we’re from. It seems to me like he’s appealing to both sides, and he knows that not one side is right and one side is wrong — we have to meet somewhere in the middle.”

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