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Beto O’Rourke campaigns in Houston aiming at Latinos, young voters

Beto O’Rourke visits over 75 communities in Texas as he campaigns to become governor. | Atirikta Kumar/The Cougar

After finishing his 49-day Drive for Texas campaign, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke stopped at Settegast Park in Second Ward at the “Latinos con Beto! rally.”

The rally in Second Ward saw a turnout of O’Rourke’s Latino supporters, with more than 700 people showing up. 

The energized crowd carried “Beto for Texas” signs and wore shirts as Lesley Briones, the Democratic candidate for commissioner of Harris County’s fourth precinct, kicked things off. Briones began with a quick introduction and emphasized the importance of young voters for the upcoming midterms. 

“Make sure that young people’s voices are heard this November, make sure that they are voting up and down the ballot because our future is in the hands of the youth,” Briones said. “And if it’s not, it’s not us at the table then nothing will be changed.” 

State Sen. Carol Alvarado, D-Houston, took the stage and spoke about Gov. Greg Abbott’s lack of action for not calling a special session since the fatal school shooting in Uvalde.

Alvarado also spoke about the lack of action on the Republican’s part for not wanting to raise the minimum age to buy an assault rifle or introducing waiting periods, noting hypocrisy when it comes to a woman’s choice. 

“Waiting periods that makes me think about when we’ve debated abortion bills and they insisted on waiting periods but we can’t get a waiting period for when someone wants to go by an assault rifle,” Alvarado said. 

State Rep. Christina Morales, D-Houston, recalled how O’Rourke supported the democrats financially when they went to D.C. to oppose the suppression bill.

O’Rourke started his speech by thanking the crowd and the speakers before him. He then swiftly moved the subject to voter suppression. 

O’Rourke then talked about women’s right to choose, expanding Medicaid, legalizing marijuana, immigration, gun reform, increasing the minimum wage and unionization at the event. 

O’Rourke said he wants Texas to become a “right-to-organize state” from a “right-to-work state.” He also aims for fair compensation for workers across the board as a necessity. 

Giving educators their classrooms back, kicking the Starr test out and opting for a real public school teacher as the next commissioner of education were also addressed.  

“There are so many places across the state that our current governor has never visited,” O’Rourke said. “I guarantee you he hasn’t been to this part. … He hasn’t listened to the people that he’s served. Their streets are failing, they don’t have access to the internet, their hospitals are closing and their cost of living it’s going up in property taxes, utility bills and phone bills now as well.”

With the elections being only a little over a month away, there was an emphasis on young voters. 

“I feel like Beto really reflects the voices of young people and with a new generation of voters,” said political science senior Allyson Campos. “I feel like Beto is that turning point for Gen Z and for the younger generation to get the vote out.”

His campaign has greatly focused on young voters and showing up at the polls. His mobilizing efforts will take him around college campuses in Texas and he will be making a stop at UH on Sept. 27.

“It’s been young people in the frontlines making change happen,” O’Rourke said. “Very often sacrificing, serving and struggling to get that done. And so whether they’re on college campuses, junior college campuses, senior high school classrooms out there working right now already, we’re gonna go to where they are, make sure that they are brought in and they decide the outcome of this election.”

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