The one time U.S. Senate and Democratic presidential candidate, who lost both of those races, now wants to land in Austin at the governor’s mansion in the 2022 cycle.
On Thursday, 25 News caught up with the former Democratic congressman from the El Paso area in a one-on -one interview. During his first 24 hours on the campaign trail, O'Rourke raised more than $2,000,000 in donations, signaling the gubernatorial contest is already drawing considerable attention from across the country.
Two biggest issues facing Texas?
“I want to make sure we come together and focus on the really bad things. Two really big ones in every single community and for every single one of us is ensuring the best jobs in America are created right here. And that we have world-class public schools for our kids. Jobs and public education.”
You mentioned jobs. One of the big employers here in Central Texas is SpaceX. Do you follow the work they do?
“I’m grateful they create jobs across the state of Texas. I’m actually going to Brownsville later today where it’s a very larger employer with a lot of opportunity to expand even more. I love these types of jobs, high skill, high tech, high wage. We want to see more of them.”
It’s likely you face Greg Abbott next year. We haven’t seen a Democratic governor here in 25 years. What makes this cycle the right one [to run]?
“It's where Texas is right now. We’d like to see competence in our leadership. After the electricity grid failed and those in power failed the people of Texas. Millions went without heat and water and light, and also hundreds of good Texans died, including an 11-year-old boy who froze to death in his sleep. After 72,000 COVID deaths, and our governor fighting your community who tried to keep masks in the classroom…”
What is your solution for the border? I know a lot of even Democratic lawmakers from the border think the Biden administration is not doing enough. The governor has deployed DPS. Is that something you would continue?
“Where local communities and county judges request DPS assistance, absolutely. Let’s listen to them. They know their communities better than anybody else. Let’s not force DPS to go […] longer term, we need the president and we need congress to do their job, and to rewrite our immigration laws so they reflect our needs and our ambitions and values here in Texas.”
You mentioned social issues: critical race theory, trans rights for student-athletes, abortion. There has been so much discussion on those. Will that at all be a focus of your campaign?
“We need to go beyond where are right now, where so many are pitted against each other on these issues. This extreme abortion ban, just to pick one, for example, that places a $10,000 bounty on the head of any women in the state that chooses to make her own decision about her own body, is the most extreme legislation in America today. We were talking about jobs today, some employers have decided not to come to Texas.”
25 News also has requested time with Gov. Abbott for an interview, and we hope to conduct that soon.