O’Rourke starts run with home­town rally

The Buffalo News - - WASHINGTON NEWS -

EL PASO, Texas – Beto O’Rourke fo­cused heav­ily Satur­day on a Texas nar­ra­tive he’s used to rise from El Paso coun­cil mem­ber to Se­nate can­di­date to Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date.

O’Rourke, at a rally in his home­town, hoped to draw a stark con­trast with Pres­i­dent Trump, telling Amer­i­cans that the na­tion can do bet­ter on many fronts, in­clud­ing de­vel­op­ing a com­pas­sion­ate im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem that se­cures the bor­der, im­ple­ment­ing crim­i­nal jus­tice re­form – in­clud­ing mar­i­juana le­gal­iza­tion – and pay­ing work­ers a fair wage and help­ing them get af­ford­able health care.

“This is a cam­paign for Amer­ica, for ev­ery­one in Amer­ica,” he said. “This is our mo­ment of truth, and we can­not be found want­ing.”

El Paso is not just his home­town, but also a sym­bol of his mes­sage: “We are safe. Not de­spite the fact that we are a city of im­mi­grants and asy­lum seek­ers. We are safe be­cause we are a city of im­mi­grants and asy­lum seek­ers.”

Given that El Paso is a bor­der com­mu­nity O’Rourke calls one of the safest cities in Amer­ica, and that Texas has the most unin­sured res­i­dents in the na­tion, he con­sid­ers him­self uniquely qual­i­fied to be the party’s stan­dard-bearer and war­rior against the for­mi­da­ble Trump.

Some Democrats say O’Rourke’s Texas ties make him the ideal can­di­date.

“Trump’s mes­sage is, be afraid of im­mi­grants,” said Dal­las County Judge Clay Jenk­ins, who worked with O’Rourke on a voter turnout plan for North Texas last year. “In Texas, ev­ery­body sees the is­sue dif­fer­ently. Peo­ple ac­tu­ally want to hear so­lu­tions to these is­sues from some­body who knows what the bor­der is like. He’s a cred­i­ble voice for the re­al­ity of what the fu­ture of Amer­ica can look like.”

Be­fore Satur­day’s rally, the Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee slammed O’Rourke for his po­si­tions on abor­tion and cli­mate change, and for what they called a lack of pol­icy pro­pos­als. But the big­gest crit­i­cism came over the bor­der.

“Beto O’Rourke kicks off his cam­paign to­day with zero aware­ness of the cri­sis our na­tion faces at our south­ern bor­der, con­tin­u­ing to ad­vo­cate for no bar­ri­ers, said Chris­tiana Purves, a spokes­woman for the Repub­li­can com­mit­tee. “Tex­ans de­serve bet­ter than a leader who would in­crease the flow of drugs and crime by weak­en­ing our bor­der se­cu­rity.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.