Beto O’Rourke represented Texas’s 16th Congressional District for three terms and gained attention for his ultimately unsuccessful Senate campaign against Sen. Ted Cruz. Previously, O’Rourke served on the El Paso City Council and co-founded the Stanton Street Technology Group.
Previous Work Around Poverty and Opportunity
- Voted against keeping work requirements for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
- Has repeatedly highlighted the maternal mortality rates of black women.
- Has been outspoken on social issues including immigration.
On the Issues
Jobs: Has emphasized the need for investments in rural economies and has drawn links between agricultural policy and immigration policy.
Affordable Housing: In 2006, voted to support a redevelopment plan of downtown El Paso which had potential to displace Hispanic residents.
Health Care/Insurance: Said on Facebook in 2018 that “single-payer Medicare-for-all program is the best way to ensure all Americans get the health care they need.” Later modified his position, saying Medicare is “one option” toward universal coverage.
Education: Is in favor of increasing federal aid for low-income public schools. Highlighted low teacher pay during his Senate campaign.
Criminal Justice: Campaigned for Senate on a criminal justice reform agenda: advocating for the abolishment of private prisons, supporting the legalization of marijuana and ending the War on Drugs, eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses, ending the use of bail bonds and increasing housing and job-search support for former inmates.
Minimum Wage: Supports an increase of minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Safety Net: Has previously voiced support for entitlement reform but seems to have backed away from these positions.
Children/Families: Has voiced support for paid family leave at the federal level.
Taxes/Tax Credits: Has been critical of GOP tax policy as promoting “trickle down economics.”
“Ignore the skeptics. Beto O’Rourke has the policy chops to run for president. [Opinion].” (The Houston Chronicle: 12/15/2018)
“Beto O’Rourke Has a Good reason He’s Running. He Just Can’t Say It.” (New York Magazine: 3/14/2019)
“Beto O’Rourke Once Supported an El Paso Real Estate Deal. Barrio Residents Remember.” (The New York Times: 10/29/2018)
“O’Rourke’s immigration plan: No wall, but a few specifics.” (Texas Tribune: 1/16/2019)