Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke of Texas swung through North Carolina on Monday opening with greetings of “buenos dias” to nearly 100 students and others in Charlotte.
Newly minted Democrat State Senator Mujtaba Mohammed, elected in 2018, launched the Central Piedmont Community College event around 9 a.m. It was the first of three 2020 campaign events for O’Rourke in North Carolina on Monday.
O’Rourke’s opening remark on gerrymandering elicited cheers from the crowd. He threw in mention of LGBT issues, voter suppression, and a new voting rights act.
O’Rourke revealed that as of a few years ago, what he knew of North Carolina was a “very hateful bathroom bill” that he said they exported to Texas. He proclaimed that the bill had the singular purpose to “freak parents out about transgender children in their kids’ classrooms.”
He told the crowd he came to see how they overcame what he described as paranoia and hateful language contained in the North Carolina “bathroom bill” and saw Democrats take offices including the governorship in 2018.
O’Rourke spoke both in spanish and english as he told the group that he spent time in every county whether bright red or blue, Republican or Democrat, in Texas during his 2018 U.S. Senate campaign. He ultimately lost the red state to incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz in a highly competitive race that involved a massive campaign donation influx to O’Rourke.
He hit on gun control, warning against “weapons of war.” The 2020 contender touched on the Charlotte shooting death of Danquirs Napoleon Franklin, denouncing what he called a disproportionate prison population when it comes to people of color. He pointed specifically to those incarcerated for nonviolent drug crimes while lobbing blame at big Pharma for the opioid crisis. He blamed not the offending individuals, but the incarceration of them for consequences to their lives after being released.
O’Rourke moved on to revisit the issue of slavery, segregation, Jim Crow, suppression in America’s democracy and economy, and the criminal justice system as explanations for “ten times the wealth in white America than there is in black America.”
The former U.S. Congressman moved on to the issue of migrants into the U.S., pushing a message that children are gravely damaged as they are separated after crossing the southern border and those later reunited with family members. He suggested giving citizenship to foreign national “dreamers” brought illegally to the U.S. as minors.
He suggested expansion of Medicare and establishment of “universal care.”
O’Rourke called Climate Change the biggest challenge that America faces. He cited “scientists” as he said there are just ten years left to act “before it is too late.”
“We cannot buy in to this president’s tactic of fear that makes us angry, keeps us apart, and makes us afraid,” O’Rourke said of President Donald Trump.