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    Beto O’Rourke speaks on gun control, reproductive rights during campus rally

    Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke speaks to Texas State students on his political stances during his college tour, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022, at Evans Auditorium.

    Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke speaks to Texas State students on his political stances during his college tour, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022, at Evans Auditorium.

    Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke visited Texas State last Wednesday to talk to students about his stance on gun control, reproductive rights and the legalization of marijuana.
    The rally took place in Evans Auditorium as a part of O’Rourke’s college tour across Texas. The Texas State crowd included a full auditorium plus a line that extended from the doors of Evans Liberal Arts to the Alkek Library stairs.
    Wearing a maroon Texas State hat, O’Rourke began his address by calling out Gov. Greg Abbott’s actions regarding gun control following the mass shooting that occurred in Uvalde, Texas, in May.
    “Our governor, the most powerful man in the state, has yet to lift a finger to make it any less likely that any other child, in any other community or any other classroom will meet the same fate as those children in Uvalde,” O’Rourke said.
    O’Rourke, if elected, plans to repeal the permitless carry law that took effect in September of last year and to raise the purchasing age for a firearm to 21 years old, a law that has seen success in other states.
    “We can continue to defend the Second Amendment while doing a far better job of protecting the lives of those in our communities,” O’Rourke said. “Those kids literally legally do not get a vote or a voice in this election but through our actions and what we choose to do in this moment.”
    Prior to taking the stage, O’Rourke was introduced by Faith Mata, a Texas State psychology senior, whose family was struck by tragedy when her sister Tess was killed in the Uvalde shooting.
    Mata told the auditorium crowd who her little sister was and how the tragedy affected her family and community. Mata said she used to describe herself as uninterested in politics, but since the shooting, she has become an advocate for firearm restrictions and a strong supporter of O’Rourke’s campaign.
    “Vote before you become me,” Mata said. “We are the future and the generation that can make change. My voice today and forever will be strong for my sister Tess, but our voices together can be stronger.”
    During his speech, O’Rourke advocated for a law granting women the choice to have an abortion, a law that has been delegated to the states following the overturning of Roe v. Wade. According to O’Rourke, it was the women of Texas who won women’s rights 50 years ago and it will be women who get them back in 2022.
    “We are at the epicenter of a maternal mortality crisis that is claiming the lives of Black women at three times the rate of white of white women in the state of Texas,” O’Rourke said. “Abortion was just as illegal in the state of Texas [50 years ago] as it is today. No one from outside of the state rode to the rescue of the women in Texas. Truth be told it was the women of Texas who rode to the rescue of the rest of the country.”
    O’Rourke continued the rally by speaking on the importance of restoring the statewide power grid, legalizing marijuana and building safe legal immigration.
    We are going to make sure that we legalize marijuana in the state of Texas,” O’Rourke said. “Texans of all races and ethnicities use cannabis at the same rate, disproportionately back and brown people are stopped and frisked.”
    Following the rally, O’Rourke fulfilled his promise to take a photo or shake hands with everyone willing to wait in line outside of Evans. Some waited up to three hours including first-time voter, biology sophomore Kamrie Scott who said O’Rourke is advocating for her rights.
    “I think it was great that [Beto O’Rourke] said something about Black and brown people and especially females because say I was to get [sexually assaulted] under the abortion law. There is nothing I can do about it,” Scott said.
    Walking with his security to the parking lot, O’Rourke continued speaking to supporters about the importance of casting a vote in this election.
    “It’s only possible to overcome challenges and do great things when young people are in the lead,” O’Rourke said.
    O’Rourke plans to visit 19 colleges until Oct. 11. Texas State was the 14th on the list.

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    • Texas State psychology senior Faith Mata talks with Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke on stage, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022, at Evans Auditorium. Mata took the stage to speak of her late sister who was an Uvalde victim.

    • Texas State criminology sophomore Amber Weatherton takes a selfie with Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022, outside Evans Auditorium.

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