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DNC week: On Tuesday August 18, Axios politics and White House editor Margaret Talev hosted a conversation on how Gen Z is engaging with politics, featuring Beto O'Rourke, Rep. Will Hurd and 2018 Texas Boys State participant René Otero.

René Otero spoke about his experience in Texas Boys State and views on the current state of politics and the potential Gen Z turnout for the 2020 election.

  • On the influence politicians' conduct has on the public: “It is through our current politicians that we learn our conduct [and] the way politics should function…The individual politician has the responsibility to be a beacon of decency and a delegate to the people.”
  • On Gen Z turnout for the fall election: "I don't think that this election is going to have the turnout that we expect it does if we don't make the active effort to ensure that those in isolated communities can vote."

Rep. Will Hurd discussed his path to public office and highlighted how his professional career has impacted the type of legislation he's helped to write and sponsor.

  • His advice to members of Gen Z: "Being elected office should be something you should aspire to...But the other piece of advice I would give young folks is to go out and have a career before you get into politics."
  • On bipartisanship: "It's not easy trying to to to show a middle way. But it's doable. And in the end, people care about results. And that's what I found. That's why people are frustrated right now — because they're not seeing it."

Beto O'Rourke spoke about Texas' essential role in the upcoming election and how young people lead the way on essential social issues.

  • How Texas has the potential to impact the fall election: "I strongly believe that if Texas [awards its Electoral College votes to the Democratic nominee] the impact on American politics will be seismic. It will once and for all end the Trump presidency and Trump-ism in America."
  • On the power of young people in politics: "Young voter turnout was up 500% in early voting in Texas over the last midterm election. You name an issue, whether it is reproductive choice, climate change, access to health care, fighting back against this pandemic — young people are on the front lines, forcing the conversations and the necessary change that needs to follow."

Axios co-founder and CEO Jim VandeHei hosted a View from the Top segment with
Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss, the filmmakers of the documentary Boys State, who discussed the filmmaking process and what they learned about politics and the experience of boyhood in America.

  • "One moment where...our heroic character, is asked by a young man: "What's the purpose of a politician?" And he says: "To serve others and not yourself." It's a very simple answer, but it's very profound to and something we think we can all remind ourselves of...There is a desire, even in our hyper-polarized country, to work together to find common ground."

Thank you Apple Original Films & A24 for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Hispanic lawmaker says progressive ideas alienating Texas Latinos

Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

"Defund the Police" rhetoric and fears that progressive climate policies could cost oil jobs boosted President Trump's performance in blue, largely Latino Texas counties bordering Mexico, a top Hispanic leader tells Axios.

Driving the news: Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), whose 28th Congressional District runs from the outskirts of San Antonio to the Rio Grande, toured eight counties in his district over four days last week.

Buffett eyes slow U.S. progress, but says "never bet against America"

Warren Buffett in New York City in 2017. Photo: Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

Warren Buffett called progress in America "slow, uneven and often discouraging," but retained his long-term optimism in the country, in his closely watched annual shareholder letter released Saturday morning.

Why it matters: It breaks months of uncharacteristic silence from the 90-year-old billionaire Berkshire Hathaway CEO — as the fragile economy coped with the pandemic and the U.S. saw a contentious presidential election.

Restaurant software meets the pandemic moment

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Food delivery companies have predictably done well during the pandemic. But restaurant software providers are also having a moment as eateries race to handle the avalanche of online orders resulting from severe in-person dining restrictions.

Driving the news: Olo filed last week for an IPO and Toast is rumored to be preparing to do the same very soon.