Texas Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Beto O’Rourke made Muleshoe his 6th stop in a part of his Drive for Texas campaign.
People from across Bailey County, across the panhandle, and even some from New Mexico, joined in to share their concerns in the community.
Before the start of the event, people walked around talking to O’Rourke and taking pictures with him. Some bought merchandise like campaign signs or T-shirts saying “Beto for Governor.”
In O’Rourke’s opening statement, he said he comes to Muleshoe because, “I’m especially interested in delivering for those communities that have been forgotten, written off, taken for granted, not visited by those in positions of power and public trust. They (state legislators) may not know what the issues are in Muleshoe that need to be addressed.”
Throughout the campaign speech, he hit three key points including:
· Educators in the public-school systems are underpaid and the state needs to address better funding overall to lower taxes on the individual, O’Rourke said.
· “Plug in” Rural America and provide each Texan reliable broadband internet, he said.
· Reform needs to be made to healthcare coverage and things need to be done to stabilize the gap of underemployed medical facilities, he added.
Following his speech, the former US representative listened to questions from five different people in attendance.
Two ladies asked similar questions regarding how the candidate plans to provide for healthcare workers in Muleshoe and surrounding areas. O’Rourke replied to both with a plan to reintroduce the Rural Scholars Program.
O’Rourke described the program with a hypothetical. If a Muleshoe native were to go to medical school and practice in Muleshoe or another rural area, the state of Texas – in partnership with the county – will pay the full cost of their medical school education, he explained.
He wants to expand the program to include, “nurses and other medical providers as well, including behavioral health specialists and therapists.”
One of the final speakers was Sheyenne Sansom, a health care worker from Portales, New Mexico. She wanted to know O’Rourke’s opinion on the recent overturn of Roe v. Wade and what he plans to do about women’s reproductive rights.
Her question was followed by immediate cheers and an ovation in the crowd.
O’Rourke responded: “As governor, I’m going to do everything in my power to restore those protections (women’s reproductive rights) and ensure that every Texas woman can make her own decisions about her own body, her own future and her own health care.”
Other questions covered topics like protecting educators, gun control and immigration. Following the final question, O’Rourke invited the crowd to take a group photo with him. People then were allowed to take individual photos with the candidate and talk to him one on one if they pleased.
Following Muleshoe, O’Rourke will go to The Derrick Event Center in Amarillo as the next stop of his Drive for Texas campaign that spans 49 days and will travel to 70 different events.