Beto O’Rourke SXSW

AUSTIN, Texas – As part of his campaign for governor of Texas, former El Paso Rep. Abbott. .

No Democrat has won statewide elections in Texas since 1994, but O’Rourke has come closer than any other member of his party. He was 216,000 votes below to replace US Senator Ted Cruz in the 2020 election and is betting on his core strategy of focusing on private voters entitled to increased turnout, despite the recent enactment of new state voting laws .

Excerpts from O’Rourke’s conversation with Texas Tribune CEO and co-founder Evan Smith during the SXSW conference are shown below. The conversation has been slightly edited for clarity.

O’Rourke’s case against Gov. Greg Abbott

O’Rourke: You’re seeing the ever-increasing number of authoritarians and thugs around the world. We have our own in the state of Texas. Greg Abbott is a bully and an authoritarian, not only for his incompetence in keeping the lights on in the planet’s energy capital, but when CEOs made more than $ 11 billion in profits in five days by selling 200 times the current price. . Not only did he not recover the illegal benefits, more than 700 people who literally died frozen had no justice. People are paying tens of millions of dollars in property damage.

You think they are manipulating elections in other parts of the world. This is the hardest state in the nation to vote for; 50% of postal ballot applications were denied in some counties, including veterans. This is a guy who is attacking women and not allowing them to make their own reproductive health decisions. Put a $ 10,000 goal at the expense of anyone who tries to help them.

Seven out of ten fourth graders cannot read at a grade level and teachers are very poorly paid. What are you doing about it? Aimed at transgender children and their parents. That is what this guy is doing in the highest position of public confidence in this land.

We need to make sure we get back to the big things: creating great jobs, world-class schools, expanding Medicaid. We can do it, but we have to overcome this kind, this extremism, this marginal policy that is hurting people so deeply in the state of Texas.

He would kill Texas transgender law on his first day in office

Absolutely. Although the governor has this crazy fixation on transgender children and their families, for the past seven years he has been told that we have a crisis in foster care. Children in Child Protection Services offices are sleeping on desks, in hallways, under tables because they cannot be placed. Four months ago, Governor Abbott was warned about a facility not far from Austin, where children who have been sexually treated are in custody and in the care of the state of Texas are being abused by their caregivers. Those same children who were rescued from sex traffickers are now being treated for sexual purposes by their guardians in the state of Texas. The governor knew there was a problem for four months and he didn’t [anything]. He tried to further divide, fracture, and polarize the state. We have real problems in the state of Texas that we will focus on when he is governor.

What O’Rourke would have done differently during the 2021 winter storm

I would have air-conditioned the gas supply, connected the Texas Electric Reliability Council to the national grid to extract energy when we needed it. The Paso went just as cold, but we didn’t lose power. We could lower the energy. We are Texans. Here we generate a lot of energy. We can sell it back to the net. It would impose an independent market monitor that can be the policeman at the pace so that no one ever covers 200 times the gas fare. I want to make sure that we invest and create jobs to winter and create energy efficiency in our homes, offices and buildings to pay lower rates and be less dependent on oil and gas.

The 2021 voting law passed by Republicans

The new law requires that when you want to vote by mail, you must use the same identity document with which you originally registered to vote and relate it to the DNI you now have. A World War II veteran was able to register to vote 70 years ago. It is always the people in power who try to maintain that power by preventing those in this state from voting and representing their interests freely and fairly. It’s the same game plan that’s taking place right now. I would like the Ministry of Justice to intervene. I would like the Senate to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. No one goes to the rescue. This is about us.

Do you support the confiscation of AK47 and AR15?

I don’t think anyone should have them. If I can find a consensus in the state of Texas that allows us to buy them back, I will. I can’t command or dictate anything. I have to do it by listening, working with people and creating goodwill and consensus. I don’t think any civilian should have an AR15 or AK47. They were designed with one purpose in mind: to kill people on a battlefield. I met a lot of people who were shot dead by an AK47 after 23 people were killed because someone inspired by Donald Trump and Greg Abbott, who was asking Texans to defend themselves, came to El Paso and shot a lot of people.

I also want to make sure, as a Texan who understands that we stand for the Second Amendment, that all of us who grew up using weapons to collect, play sports, hunt, and use them responsibly, have built on that and found common ground with Republicans. on universal background checks, safe storage laws and protection orders against extreme risks to find consensus and commitment and defend the Second Amendment and save more lives in the process.

Does it support the border wall?

I’m not for a wall.

Do you support open borders?

No, I live on the border, as you know. El Paso becomes one of the safest cities in the US. UU. It was the safest city in the US. UU. before the construction of the wall that began with President Bush and continued by President Obama and Trump. Crime rates rose during and after the construction of the wall. What we don’t need is more chaos and confusion, which is what the governor is creating on the border. It activated 10,000 members of the state guard and deployed them at the border. Four of those guards took their lives; two others died in accidental gunfire, not at the hands of immigrants. They are all removed from their true purpose in life. It is costing us all millions of dollars. We are the defining border state. We cannot lead if we lead with fear.

Improving the Texas abortion ban

It’s about finding common ground. No one will get everything they want. The epidemic of maternal mortality is three times more deadly for black women. When you close reproductive health care in Texas, it’s not only harder to abort but to do a cervical cancer screening test. It’s harder to see a doctor in rural Texas. We lead the nation in teen pregnancy rates and repeat pregnancy. We need to make sure that people can make their own decisions about their own body. It is not just about abortion but about saving the lives of people in this state. There is something in common with people who say they are pro-life. He turns his attention to the Child Protection Services and the state foster care system and to the girls who are being treated at the moment. There’s so much more we can do to save lives in the state of Texas, and that’s a great conversation we’re about to have.

Legalization of marijuana

When he becomes governor, we will legalize marijuana in the state of Texas. You will no longer lock people up for possession of a substance that is legal in so many other states in the country. It is not enough to legalize it. We also have to delete the records of those who have served their sentences. I leave you with a secret. Republicans like to take drugs as much as Democrats. This is one of the most popular topics.

Beto O’Rourke SXSW

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