Mar 12, 2022 - Politics & Policy

"This one is on us, the people of Texas": Beto makes his case for governor

Beto O'Rourke, Democratic gubernatorial candidate for Texas, speaks during a primary election night event in Fort Worth, Texas, U.S., on Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Beto O'Rourke speaks during a primary election night event in Fort Worth, Texas, on March 1. Photo: Matthew Busch/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Beto O'Rourke said Saturday that his campaign for Texas governor is about the people, not "about the person, the candidate, the party," a lesson he said he learned from his 2020 presidential run.

Driving the news: "This campaign is the volunteers and the people who've signed up to join it. That's what it is," the Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate told Evan Smith, the CEO of The Texas Tribune, at South by Southwest.

  • O'Rourke made his case against Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and said that his campaign is built on and focused around Texans.
  • "I don't want Joe Biden or anyone else from outside of Texas, coming into this state to campaign for me or anyone else, this one is on us, the people of Texas, we are going to decide our future, our fortune, our fate."

The big picture: The former presidential candidate advocated for stronger voting rights, gun control and immigration reform and bashed Abbott's call for abuse investigations into the use of gender-affirming care for transgender children.

  • "That's what this guy is doing in the highest position of public trust in this land," O'Rourke said of Abbott's order, adding, "we need to make sure that we get back to the big things."
  • O'Rourke also said that some policy areas, such as access to abortion, have room for finding "common ground."
  • "No one's going to get everything that they want. We've got to find a way to find some common agreement on these issues," the Democratic hopeful said.

One other issue that has room for common ground, according to O'Rourke, is the question over legalizing marijuana.

  • "I’ll let you in on a secret. Republicans like to get high just as much as Democrats like to get high," he said.

The bottom line: O'Rourke said the "power is right now" with the people of Texas — his campaign volunteers and the voters.

  • "We are a good people, and we're going to be there for one another and we're going to rise to this challenge.

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