Beto O’Rourke visits San Antonio one day after announcing gubernatorial candidacy

Bella Nieto, News Editor

Beto O’Rourke, former senate and presidential candidate, officially announced his candidacy for governor on Nov. 15. The next day, O’Rourke kicked off his campaign by visiting San Antonio, joining an event hosted by the San Antonio Chapter of Communications Workers of America.

In the city he called the “hospitality capital of Texas,” O’Rourke took a special interest in celebrating essential workers and their efforts during the pandemic. 

“We have an opportunity, all of us together, not as Republicans, not as Democrats, but as Texans to be there for one another. To make sure we get back to focusing on the big things like making sure that those frontline workers, who put their lives on the line for all of us — whether you work in healthcare or hospitality — you showed up to work every day to make sure this state and this country could keep working,” O’Rourke said.

“Now I want to make sure that we have your back, that you are paid a living wage, that you can see a doctor, and fill a prescription, and you can count on the fact that educators in public schools are paid their true worth and value, so they can deliver world-class education to every child in the state. Uniting together to tackle big issues gets us past the division.”

O’Rourke emphasized the need for bipartisanship and unity to create a movement on initiatives that, he felt, were common sense.

“Then we make progress on things that all of us agree on like expanding Medicaid, bringing tens of billions of dollars into communities like San Antonio, making sure that people can see a doctor and for any that are sick and tired of property tax bills … we bring those down as we ease the pressure by bringing in federal money. That makes a lot of sense to me,” O’Rourke said. 

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg made a guest appearance at the event despite his aversion to partisan politics. Nirenberg implied his support of O’Rourke’s main imperative: working for and with Texans. 

“We thank you for being a friend to our city. We have a lot of work to do up in Austin, don’t we?” Nirenberg said. “We’ve been pulling together to get through, and here we are today to support somebody who we know is going to be working with us instead of against us.”

After losing to Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018, O’Rourke also entered the 2020 presidential race, but later dropped out. Despite his failed attempts at victory, O’Rourke shared what he had learned from his ventures.  

“What I have learned is that it’s all about the power of people. If you let it be about the candidate or their political party, I don’t know that you’re going to win a statewide race in Texas,” he said. “You got to make it about what’s most important to the people that you want to serve.”

What is most important is I trust you. You know better than anyone what’s most important for your family, for your kids, for your grandkids and I want to be your partner in this race. I don’t come here to tell you what I am going to do, I come here to seek partnership and collaboration and find out how we are going to bridge these divides and get Texas back on the right track,” O’Rourke said. 

O’Rourke’s statement also included a call to action for his supporters.

“Just to be clear — retweeting what I post on Twitter isn’t enough, posting on Facebook is nice, but it is not enough to win the election. I am going to ask you to knock on the doors of complete strangers and have conversations about one of the two things you should never talk about with strangers: and that’s politics,” O’Rourke said. “I am going to ask you to make phone calls, to contribute whatever you can to make sure we can reach every single person in Texas. We are not giving up on Republicans … they are welcome in this campaign. You cannot be too rural, too big city, too border, too blue, too red for this campaign: we are about everyone. We are doing this for everyone in Texas.”

O’Rourke ended with a promise to put his full effort behind his campaign and with his supporters. 

“I want you to know that I am with you. It is so encouraging to see so many people out here on the second day of the campaign,” O’Rourke said. “I promise you I will give this campaign, this race, this effort all of my being. It is the honor of my life to be in this with you.”