Beto O’Rourke is the best candidate for students

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Jaden Edison

Texas senatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke will visit Texas State University on Sep. 9 to conduct a townhall with the San Marcos community. The upcoming November midterm election is arguably more important this year than it has ever been, and it is vastly paramount for the community to get out and vote. Moreover, it is in the best interests of students to support and cast their ballot toward O’Rourke’s platform.

On issues ranging from education to equality for all individuals, O’Rourke has leaned less on any partisan ideologies and more on human decency and righteousness. For the first time in several years, Texas has a candidate that deeply cares about the people. As reflected in his philosophy, O’Rourke’s only agenda is to serve the individual, and all college students must take note of that.

O’Rourke co-sponsored the Affordable College Textbook Act, an amendment of the Higher Education Act, which was signed at Texas State by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965. The introduced bill would direct “the Department of Education to make competitive grants to institutions of higher education to support pilot programs that expand the use of open textbooks in order to achieve savings for students.”

The passing of this bill would establish programs that use open educational resources to lower the costs of textbooks. Students would then be able to allocate leftover funds toward more important necessities.

O’Rourke also co-sponsored the GIRLS STEM Act, an amendment of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 — also signed by President Johnson as part of the War on Poverty. This introduced bill would establish a program to carry out two things: “(1) encourage the interest of female students in careers requiring science, mathematics, engineering, or technology (STEM) skills; and (2) prepare female students to pursue credentials needed to pursue a career in a STEM field.”

The passing of this bill would place a much-needed emphasis on women’s education. The program could possibly create a better future for many women; a future full of higher paying jobs, higher ranked positions and a higher standard of living.

As conveyed in his association with several educational bills, O’Rourke’s education platform has always kept students first. Students need a senator who realizes the monetary burden that college places on their backs; a senator who has acted and will act on that very existence. Furthermore, students deserve a leader that cares about young women and men and their success in college; a leader who cares about their financial well-being well after graduation.

O’Rourke has not forgotten about the need for gun safety. He believes Texas “should lead the way in preserving the Second Amendment while working together to ensure people can live without fear of gun violence in their communities.” This includes required background checks, the ridding of war and high-capacity gun magazines and federal research on gun violence to better understand it.

2018 has witnessed many horrific incidents involving gun violence. Even worse, leaders of the past have not been willing to act. Instead, they have avoided any attempts to even slightly reduce these tragedies. They have selfishly placed individual gun agendas over the lives of their own constituents.

O’Rourke, however, is advocating for action. He has obviously paid attention to students’ voices, whether it was the tens of thousands of students protesting at the Austin Capitol building or Texas State’s own students protesting on campus. That is the leader that students need; one who will actually listen. Now that the opportunity for change is approaching, no longer do students have to settle for less.

O’Rourke believes Texas should lead criminal justice reform. Having been arrested twice at a young age, he understands what it is like for young people to make mistakes. He is knowledgeable on the sad reality that many individuals are currently serving ridiculous amounts of time in jail for nonviolent crimes.

O’Rourke believes in second chances for low-level offenders. He has personally witnessed what amazing wonders it can do for an individual. Students need a leader who has been through relatable situations; a leader who will utilize those experiences for the betterment of his constituents.

O’Rourke actually cares about equality. He believes all Americans deserve equal rights under the law. With that said, students deserve a leader that understands the oppression of the minority; a leader who believes that they matter just as much as the next individual. Progression in any community will forever be difficult if leaders continue to place real-life issues under the rug. With O’Rourke, that is subject to change.

O’Rourke’s beliefs about equality also travel into the workplace. O’Rourke believes men and women should be paid equally and treated fairly. He has displayed a desire to close the gender pay gap; an existence that has had a negative effect on college graduates throughout history. This is no insinuation that O’Rourke, by himself, can close the gap; it is an assurance that a leader will actually care enough to take action.

A vote for Beto O’Rourke is an investment in one’s self. As conveyed through many of his beliefs and philosophies, he will serve Texas with the interests of the people in mind. He will use reason and ethics when acting on behalf of his constituents. He will use his life experiences to motivate students, advocate for students and fight against moral transgression.

– Jaden Edison is an electronic media sophomore

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