Gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke made one of his final campaign appearances in Abilene on Oct. 21.
Members of the Abilene community gathered by Frontier Texas to show support and gain insight on the potential governor.
Linda Goolsbee, House District 71 representative candidate, introduced O’Rourke with a shared concern for critical issues.
“I knew that the expansion of Medicaid insurance, which Texas has passed up now for a decade, was really important,” Goolsbee said. “Now we have added reproductive health, Roe v. Wade, children being shot to death in schools, permit-less carry, and now I’m going, ‘Well, I’m glad I’m running.'”
Although Abilene is considered a ‘red’ city, meaning residents traditionally votes conservatively, O’Rourke said it does not matter because all are welcome.
“We are participating in our democracy. We have freely come out and joined together without any of us asking the other what party we belong to,” O’Rourke said. “All are welcomed. This is a public space – Republicans, Democrats, Beto supporters, Abbott supporters, alike, all are welcomed to be here right now at this moment.”
The crowd was scattered with students from the surrounding colleges, the most prominent being ACU.
Tamil Kayode-adele, freshman criminal justice major from Midland, said seeing her preferred candidate in person solidified her choice.
“Showing up here just shows that it doesn’t matter how you present yourself or who you vote for, it just kinda shows that you value democracy,” Kayode-adele said. “You never truly know a person until you hear them speak. In person, I just felt like was going to be the best way to affirm my initial thought.”
O’Rourke talked about his plans to support legal abortion, power grid preservation, enhanced veteran benefits and an improved public education system throughout the rally.
Although Texas has not had a Democratic governor in 32 years, O’Rourke said he has hope with a new wave of voters on election day.
“This is Texas today but it doesn’t have to be Texas tomorrow,” O’Rourke said. “All these young voters from Abilene Christian and universities across the state, who are getting registered in record numbers and turning out because they are sick and tired… We know we can do better, and we know so many new voters are going to come into this election to make sure that we do.”