Beto O’Rourke was born and raised in El Paso, Texas, where he eventually served six years on the city council. He then represented El Paso for another six years in the House of Representatives before narrowly losing the 2018 Senate race to Ted Cruz.
Campaign workers in Boyle Heights, California – which has a predominantly Latino population – welcome O’Rourke to the town hall meeting. O’Rourke is one of the only candidates who can speak Spanish fluently.
Audience members wear shirts and hold signs in support of Beto’s campaign.
U.S. Rep. Jimmy Gomez, a UCLA alumnus who represents most of Los Angeles and its surrounding communities, welcomes O’Rourke to Casa Del Mexicano community center, which was established in 1931 by the Mexican Consulate.
O’Rourke hugs U.S. Rep. Norma Torres, who represents California’s 35th Congressional District. The two introduced the Dreamer Protection Act in 2017 in response to President Donald Trump’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy.
O’Rourke spoke about his plans to fight climate change during the town hall. O’Rourke previously announced a $5 trillion climate change proposal that would reenter the U.S. into the Paris climate agreement and set a goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.
The town hall was held at Casa del Mexicano in Boyle Heights, a community center that has hosted Mexican dignitaries such as former Mexican President Miguel Aleman. The community center provides a garden space, a variety of classes and a gathering space for the Boyle Heights community.
O’Rourke speaks to the crowd about his proposal for increased gun control with his plan as president to have mandatory buybacks of assault-style weapons. O’Rourke’s hometown of El Paso experienced a mass shooting earlier this year.
O’Rourke answers questions from an audience member. He received questions about his policies and proposals surrounding topics such as gun violence and climate change toward the end of the town hall.
“I wanted to ask you what you're going to do about climate change, because it's real,” said Ivy Silverstein, an 11-year-old supporter. “If you become president, how will you make sure that my world isn't heating up at crazy rates every day?”
Isabella Drudge, a senior at Los Alamitos High School, asks O’Rourke what can possibly be done to end gun violence in schools. “My school has had plenty of rallies and plenty of signs up. But what can we actually do?” Drudge said.
O’Rourke shakes an attendee’s hand after his stump speech. He also made campaign stops in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona, following his appearance in Boyle Heights.