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Beto O’Rourke attends rally hosted by Texas College Democrats

Beto O'Rourke

Beto O’Rourke discussed major components of his platform at a rally held by the UH chapter of the Texas College Democrats over the weekend. | James Schillinger/The Cougar

After announcing his run for Texas Governor in November, Beto O’Rourke made a stop at UH for the “A Better Texas” rally held this past weekend.

The rally was hosted by the Texas College Democrats, where there was a full day of events that included a panel and a debate before the main event.

Ramping up audience members for O’Rourke’s big speech, members of the Democratic Party gave speeches regarding their campaigns, along with sharing the importance of voting and the voter suppression efforts due to Senate Bill 1.

Congressman Al Green spoke about his recent vote towards the legalization of cannabis, a woman’s right to choose and his hope that Ketanji Brown Jackson will be voted onto the Supreme Court.

“This is the day of the woman,” Green said. “Their time has come. Women should no longer be subjected to second-class citizenship when it comes to any aspect of American society.”

Texas’ 18th district representative Sheila Jackson Lee reflected on the anniversary of the loss of Martin Luther King Jr. and focused on his ideals and what he represents. She also reinforced the importance of voting and what is at stake if her party loses elections this year.

“It’s when it’s in your soul that you run out of here on fire, saying ‘I’m going to have a Texas that respects and loves everybody,” Lee said.

After making his way on stage, O’ Rourke was quick to look back on his past campaigns, such as his run for senate, saying that now is the time to “supercharge democratic voter turnout.”

O’Rourke touched on the winter storm in 2020, stating how he will keep the lights on and prices down if a similar situation occurs again. He discussed how he will fix the corruption and attacks that have happened since Gov. Greg Abbott has been in power.

“We gotta get past the corruption, the incompetence and the cruelty in the man who holds the highest position of public trust right now,” O’Rourke said.

Not only was supporting transgender rights and legal abortions mentioned, but O’Rourke also spoke on the unfairness of restrictive voting laws.

“(Abbott) has made this state the hardest state in the nation in which to vote and to register and to participate in our politics,” O’Rourke said.

As part of his goal to mobilize voters, O’Rourke said he is planning to be there for younger voters and not underestimate them. 

“Young people on college campuses, we’re gonna be able to win this election with their support, with their help,” O’Rourke said.

Before the rally, the convention hosted a panel that morning titled “Old Enough to Run…. and Win,” and covered a wide array of topics, focused primarily on the role young adults have to play in the democratic process, not just as voters, but as candidates and elected officials as well.  

“People said I shouldn’t have been able to win in 2018 because of my age, and I did,” said state representative Erin Zweiner. “And we need other people to just take that leap of faith, for every single district in Texas.”

The second event was a debate between incumbent Texas Democratic Party chairman Gilberto Hinojosa, and chairman candidates Kim Olson and Carroll Robinson. 

During the debate, candidates Olson and Robinson seemed to find common ground in their criticisms of incumbent Hinojosa, with Olson even jokingly remarking that Robinson had copied her notes. 

Chief amongst their criticisms were issues of inflation as well as disenfranchisement of the elderly and rural populations of Texas by the Democratic Party. 

Hinojosa defended his time in office by pointing to an increase in funds raised for the party during his tenure, and a general increase in Democratic voter turn out during the 2020 election.

Despite the disagreements however, the debate continued without a hitch, and each participant emphasized the importance debates like this had on the democratic process.

“Thanks again for being a part of this political discourse,” said Olson. “This is how we fundamentally change the course and direction of our democracy and save her from where she is today.”

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