U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, made a stop Sunday in Sherman for a town hall meeting as part of a 34-day tour of Texas on his campaign for U.S. Senate. O’Rourke is campaigning to unseat U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, next year.
Over 300 people attended the town hall at the Grayson County Courthouse, surprising event organizers. It was standing room only by the time O’Rourke arrived.
“I feel that we need a change in Texas leadership,” attendee Eddie Self, who said he’s been a Sherman resident for 70 years, said of his reason for attending. “I’m very pleased to see such a great turnout. It’s time for a change in Texas politics and this young man seems to be very progressive. That’s why we came to hear him speak.”
Sherman’s Glenn Melancon, who was the host for the event, spoke of a need for change in the state’s U.S. Senate leadership.
“Democracy is participatory,” Melancon said. “We need people to participate and get involved because it is your country. It is for all of us. An assault has been launched on our freedom, our way of life. They launched an assault on our democracy.”
O’Rourke’s speech centered mainly upon four issues — healthcare, immigration, equality and education. He took a strong stance against the potential of a Mexican/American wall and discussed what he said was the negative impact of the current administration’s immigration opinions. Citing the events of the Charlottesville, Virginia, white nationalist rally on Saturday, O’Rourke also condemned extremist views on immigration.
“Hatred and bigotry is on display today,” O’Rourke said in his speech. “Who would’ve thought that we would have to march against that? That people would literally be losing their lives in defense of the constitution’s equal protection under the law and the best traditions of this country.”
O’Rourke went on to discuss his interactions with Texans across the state during his current campaign. He said he possesses a strong belief that Republicans and Democrats can work together to accomplish what is best for the state.
“We all want to work,” O’Rourke said. “We all want to find jobs. We all want health care. We all want to treat each other with dignity and respect. We all want to make sure that we treat each other as Americans and Texans before we treat each other as Republicans and Democrats.”
O’Rourke’s campaign tour will continue through Aug. 31, when it will conclude in his hometown of El Paso.