Beto O'Rourke Biographical Essay

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1888 Words
Date:  2022-05-26

Political Background

Beto O'Rourke born as Robert Francis O'Rourke is an American businessman and politician born in El Paso, Texas. He is a US Representative from the Texas 16th congressional district (Mekelburg). O'Rourke is of Irish ancestry and son to Judge Pat Francis O'Rourke and Melissa Martha. During his childhood, he was nicknamed "Beto" derived from the Spanish name "Roberto." O'Rourke's family has had political ties because his father was a political associate to Mark White, a former Texas Governor. Beto O'Rourke is a graduate of Columbia University where he graduated in 1995 (Mekelburg). O'Rourke is a professional politician rich in political experience. In 2005, he ran for the El Paso County Council and emerged as the winner by beating the City Councilman Anthony Cobos, who had served in the seat for two terms. O'Rourke beat Cobos by 57% against 43% and emerged as the youngest representative to have attained the City Council seat (Ballotpedia). O'Rourke retained his Councilman seat in 2007 with a big margin of 70% to 30% against Trini Acevedo according to Mekelburg. After serving in the El Paso City Council, O'Rourke ran for US House of Representatives in 2012 under a Democratic Party ticket to represent the Texas 16th congressional district where he is serving currently. However, in March 2017, O'Rourke announced his candidacy for the US Senate to represent the state of Texas. Having served in the Congress since 2012, O'Rourke is confident that he has the potential to challenge the incumbent senator Ted Cruz.

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O'Rourke got in the senate race in efforts to win the statewide election as the first Democrat since 1994. In 1994, Bob Bullock, a Democrat was re-elected as the lieutenant governor and since then, Republicans have ruled Texas (Mekelburg). O'Rourke is interested in creating positive changes within the state of Texas as opposed to his opposition to Ted Cruz and the Republican policies in the state. In the first quarter of 2018, O'Rourke managed to raise $6.7 million for his campaign which he attributes to the generous Texans. According to O'Rourke, 70% of his campaign funds have been donated by the people of Texas. However, Ted Cruz has not yet announced his fundraising progress for the hotly contested seat. Nevertheless, it is important to note that high campaign figures do not mean that O'Rourke has a high probability for the seat. According to recent history, Wendy Davis, a Democratic candidate had managed to raise a lot of funds to sponsor her campaign but she still lost to Republican Greg Abbot (Ballotpedia). On the contrary, O'Rourke has raised the level of urgency, motivation, intensity, and passion for the Texas Senate seat. In one of his campaigns, O'Rourke stated that his team is engaging in a different campaign because they are different people.

O'Rourke is in on the quest for changing the political landscape of Texas where no Democrat has won a seat for over two decades. Even though O'Rourke is viewed as a political underdog, he has managed to put forth an impressive momentum. He prefers to work with young people from his native El Paso and is focused on changing the political playbook for the Texas politicians. Previously, big politicians have focused on concentrating their campaigns in the big cities of Dallas, Austin, and Houston. O'Rourke promised to go round all the 254 counties in Texas to have a personal connection with Texans (Ballotpedia). He is on the road and wants to meet the people. A notable aspect is the design O'Rourke has been running his campaign by using the internet to live-stream everything he comes across. O'Rourke is reframing what it means to be a political candidate because he is highly active and accessible through social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Moreover, Democrats did set a new record for the early voter turnout during the primary election in the state on March, fueling the optimism that the blues can win the race. Furthermore, O'Rourke joined the race to make sure that the marginalized communities and groups that have been neglected in the American politics have a voice. It is core to O'Rourke's philosophy and that is why he is eager to visit small and rural Texas towns and even interact with high school and college students. In his view, there are so many amazing people that have the ability to contribute greatly towards political decisions and age should not limit one's agenda.

Political Position

Beto O'Rourke policy reform is quite promising. He seeks to improve bipartisanship especially with regards to gun control. He argues that the Second Amendment should not be repealed. Instead, he proposes that a universal background check should be introduced which requires people to have federal approval for gun ownership. As such, Americans in need of procuring a gun should have a federal approval permit that should be presented to an authorized gun dealership for most gun sales. The US has the largest number of privately held guns in the world and engulfed by a series of mass and school shootings. In the latest school shooting that occurred in the state of Florida, 17 students were left dead (Juarez). Therefore, O'Rourke highly supports the banning of assault weapons or automatic rifles like the ones used in the Las Vegas mass shooting in 2017. In the past, O'Rourke voted against the laws that would allow the reciprocity of concealed carry licenses. He argued that some states have lax legislations for issuing such licenses, an aspect that would put the states with stringent regulations on jeopardy (Ballotpedia).

In terms of immigration, O'Rourke is against President Trump's immigration policies and the border wall. He is also against the decision by the president to send National Guard troops to patrol the US-Mexico border. O'Rourke's policy is in the favor of a comprehensive immigration reform that supports the preservation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program (Ballotpedia). The DACA legislation protects immigrants from illegal deportation, especially for US-born children. As such, O'Rourke criticizes President Trump for his immigration rhetoric that promotes fear and anxiety about the Mexicans. On the other hand, O'Rourke's health policy is directed towards the need for a universal healthcare system that covers every American. His proposal was also championed by Bernie Sanders, a Democratic Senator who ran against Hilary Clinton in the 2016 presidential nominations. O'Rourke is of the opinion that Obamacare also renowned as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) should be retained and that Medicaid should be expanded to include the states that have not endorsed the program in their jurisdiction. In another highly controversial debate concerned with healthcare, O'Rourke is a pro-abortion rights supporter. He argues that the move by Texas lawmakers to close the women health clinics have made it harder for women to access healthcare that does not concern abortion alone. In 2017, he, therefore, voted for a bill that would ban abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy because it could put the health and lives of Texan women at risk (Juarez).

Similarly, O'Rourke is a strong activist with regards to the federal prohibition of marijuana. He has maintained this view since he days as the El Paso Councilman and in 2011, he wrote a book "Dealing Death and Drugs" together with Susie Byrd. In the book, they argued that the US drug war in Juarez, Mexico was ineffective and only promoted violence and enriched dealers. Therefore, the authors proposed that the legalization of Marijuana would reduce drug-related deaths in Mexico and undermine drug cartels. Last but not least, O'Rourke has worked on a variety of veteran problems and proposes that the US Department of Veterans Affairs should improve and provide access to mental health care for former members of the service. Apart from that, O'Rourke supports the bill that would improve the apprenticeship training programs for military veterans so that they could gain certification across multiple states.

Ted Cruz, the incumbent Republican Senator is optimistic that he will retain his seat because, during the last presidential elections, Republican voters outnumbered the Democrats. Cruz policy reforms are in line with the Trump administration and he argues that Texans are conservative and that when November comes, Texas will remain bright red. However, O'Rourke is an antithesis of Ted Cruz. In addition, Cruz is highly convinced that he is being challenged by a liberal Democrat in a conservative state. On the issue of gun control, Cruz differs greatly from O'Rourke (Juarez). He argues that his opponent wants to take away the Texans' guns. Texas is one of the most highly-armed states in the US. However, political commentators claim that gun control is not a top priority for both the Democrats and Republicans voters in Texas. In the efforts to counter the Democratic gun control views, Ted Cruz and Senator Chuck Grassley re-introduced a legislation that would solve the problems with the national background check system used for gun purchases. Moreover, Cruz sponsored the National Rifle Association (NRA) to implement the concealed carry permit (Diaz).

State/District Policies

On the state level, if elected, O'Rourke seeks to improve broadband internet connectivity in Texas. According to him, half the state of Texas does not have access to a reliable internet connection. As a result, it is difficult for Texans to find jobs and finish their education online. Besides, he argued that public education in Texas is not equally funded. According to his research, Texas schools have a different success rate depending on the level of state investment, and that rural schools are the most underfunded and vulnerable. Therefore, he argued that state vouchers that end up in chartered or private schools worsen the situation. Therefore, O'Rourke aims at improving the public school infrastructure and curriculum funding to ensure an equal level of success for students across Texas.

Transport and communication infrastructure is a big issue that O'Rourke aims at improving in Texas. For instance, he bashed the city of Arlington for the lack mass transit system. Texas needs to rebuild its infrastructural development programs to create employment for the locals. An efficient and sufficient public transport system would also attract investments into the state because businesses prefer to operate in areas with adequate infrastructure that promote growth. Likewise, the Democrat senator runner seeks to reform the criminal justice system of the state. Beto O'Rourke loves the Latino population in Texas. He is all about nurturing inclusivity and creating equal opportunities to all irrespective of the place of origin. As such, Ted Cruz has criticized O'Rourke publicly for his support of the Hispanic community arguing that he wants to open up the Texas-Mexico border. Nevertheless, O'Rourke maintains that the border is secure and there are no illegal immigrants accessing the US through Texas. However, in the recent nomination primaries, Cruz won 27 out of 50 counties that have a predominantly high Latino population that has attained the voting age. In 2012, Ted Cruz rallied his votes behind the Latino population in Texas and won 40% of the votes from the Hispanic communities during his run for the Senate (Diaz). O'Rourke has a lot of work beforehand if the Democratic wave is to sweep conservative Texas. A recent poll indicated that Cruz was leading as the favorite candidate for the people of Texas. However, he was only ahead of O'Rourke by 3% according to the opinion poll.

Beto O'Rourke faces a number of challenges in Senate run against Ted Cruz. As a matter of arithmetic, the Republicans overcame Democrats in the 2016 presidential elections. However, President Trump still performed terribly for...

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