Beto O’Rourke interviewed at DMACC

Beto O’Rourke interviewed by IPTV’s David Yepsen, Sept. 21 in Building 6. Photo by Kaleb Schlatter.

DMACC hosted Democratic Presidential candidate and former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke on Saturday, Sept. 21 for an hour-long interview with Iowa Public Television in the Building 6 auditorium. 

O’Rourke spoke about myriad controversial issues, but a few topics discussed at length included student debt, gun control policy, the climate crisis, healthcare, the economy, and foreign policy.

O’Rourke’s signature stance thus far in the primary has been a proposal for mandatory buy-backs of certain military-grade firearms as a remedial policy for the pandemic of gun violence in America.

I’m listening to my fellow Americans – Republicans, Independents, and Democrats alike – who know that this is the right time to do the right thing,” O’Rourke said on the issue.

The candidate has also been outspoken on immigration. On March 27, O’Rourke released a sweeping policy plan that proposes to reform border detainment practices and stop family separation as a deterrent mechanism. O’Rourke proposed reforms to immigration law that create a path for citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and plans to repair U.S. relationships with Latin American countries to address the impact of regional politics on this issue. The candidate has sharply criticized incumbent President Donald Trump’s track record, generally, and on immigration, specifically.

When asked about his approach to the climate crisis, O’Rourke expressed admiration for the Green New Deal, saying, “We have to marshal every resource, every part of this country to confront the greatest threat that we have ever faced – the greatest threat which might very well produce our greatest moment – allow us to truly fulfill our potential and our promise to one another.”

In a recent poll conducted by Selzer and Co., distributed by The Des Moines Register, CNN, and Mediacom, Inc., O’Rourke polled at 2 percent – that is, 2 percent of likely Democratic Iowa caucus-goers name O’Rourke as their first choice for President. Additionally, in the same poll 38 percent of the same survey population said O’Rourke was their second choice.

As a Congressman, O’Rourke represented Texas’ 16th District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2013 to 2018. O’Rourke rose to national fame as the Democratic candidate in the 2018 race for the Texas Senate seat held by Republican incumbent Ted Cruz, ultimately losing to the incumbent.

Since announcing his campaign on March 14 of this year, O’Rourke has struggled to grow a committed base in the months before state caucuses and primaries begin. In the aftermath of a mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart, O’Rourke left the campaign trail to return to El Paso, his hometown, to join in mourning and show solidarity for survivors of the shooting.

O’Rourke was interviewed by IPTV’s David Yepsen. The interview was taped for the third episode of Iowa Public Television’s Conversations with Presidential Candidates series in partnership with Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses initiative and hosted by DMACC, and is available for viewing online at www.iptv.org/iowapress, on the Iowa Press’s YouTube channel, or on IPTV’s Channel 11 on Friday, September 27th at 8:30 p.m.

Two other Presidential candidates have been interviewed for this series: Cory Booker, the junior Senator for New Jersey, and Former Vice President Joe Biden.

After the interview, O’Rourke stayed to meet with audience members.

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