Democratic governor candidate Beto O’Rourke spoke at UH Tuesday afternoon, vocalizing his stances on marijuana, immigration, gun control and other hot topics his campaign focuses on.
Students from UH and Texas Southern University were in attendance, along with Texas’ 18th district representative Sheila Jackson Lee, who gave a short speech before O’Rourke took the stage.
“When they (media) report the day after November in 2022 and they report that Texas has gone places where they never thought it would go, they will report that it started right here in the University of Houston and Texas Southern University,” Lee said.
As his supporters cheered, O’Rourke spoke about his hope of canceling the STAAR test and teaching the full history instead of having parents and children be scared of critical race theory.
In part of his goal to legalize marijuana, O’Rourke also said he want to expunge arrest records of those convicted of possession of the substance.
“Texas puts more people in jail and prison than any other state in the union,” O’Rourke said. “So many there for non-violent drugs offenses, far too many for a possession of a substance that is legal in almost every other state in the country.”
With Gov. Greg Abbott’s abortion ban now in place, O’Rourke, if elected, claims he will restore abortion rights.
“And arguably in this state because of Greg Abbott, rapists now enjoy more rights than their victims,” O’Rourke said. “In fact, a rapist can sue anyone who assists his victim in obtaining an abortion and maybe collect a $10,000 bounty.”
Five of the worst mass shootings have occurred in Texas within the last five years, according to O’Rourke, and commented on Abbott’s lack of action following the events of the Uvalde shooting.
“Those kids were not just defenseless against that young man and that AR-15, they were defenseless against a governor who will not lift a finger to protect them,” O’Rourke said.
The democratic candidate stated his plans to enact universal background checks and raise the purchasing age of firearms to 21.
Recalling last year’s freeze, O’Rourke announced how he wants to connect Texas’ power grid to the national grid.
Noting UH’s diversity, O’Rourke said that he hopes to lessen the wait time of asylum adjudication to six weeks, as opposed to the current wait time of six years.
“If you want to come to this country and especially if you want to come to Texas, you got to follow the law,” O’Rourke said. “But on our end, we are going to make sure that our laws follow our values and our interests and our needs.”
O’Rourke continued to express the importance of voting and how this election can be won by working together.
Early voting begins Oct. 24, with Election Day commencing on Nov. 8.
“On the night of Nov. 8, when this contest is called, when this election is decided, you and I together, all of us, we will win this election and we will win it for Texas,” O’Rourke said.