Beto makes last-minute San Marcos stop at nightclub ahead of early voting

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Raylene Noriega

Democratic senatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke visited San Marcos, Oct. 22.
Photo by Raylene Noriega

May Olvera

Following the Oct. 21 start of early voting in Texas, Democratic senatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke joined hundreds of supporters Monday night for a town hall at a San Marcos nightclub.

On a regular night, The Marc acts as a music venue or a nightclub, and O’Rourke’s campaign rally kept a similar atmosphere. Before O’Rourke made his way onto the stage, Austin DJ ulovei warmed up the crowd with music and the venue’s bar served alcohol to customers throughout the event.

Outside, attendees endured the rain for a chance to see the El Paso congressman speak. The line to enter The Marc wrapped around the street, turning the corner onto LBJ Drive and stretching south, past AquaBrew. The venue’s doors opened at 7 p.m. and people trickled in.

Caitlin Cooper, recreation administration junior, said she spent all day watching O’Rourke’s livestream and had never been able to attend one of his rallies.

“I came out to see someone who actually cares about Texas,” she said. “I had tried to see Beto on campus, but couldn’t get into the LBJ Student Center or the Alkek overflow room.”

The visit marked O’Rourke’s third to the city in 2018, along with town halls at Wake the Dead Coffee House and the LBJ Student Center. Throughout the night, O’Rourke rallied around his platform and discussed immigration, education and prison reform.

O’Rourke spoke about his hometown, El Paso, and what he described as a nightmare endured by immigrant families crossing the border to give their children better lives only to face separation and deportation.


Democratic senatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke’s platform focuses on prison reform, education and immigration.

Photo by Raylene Noriega

“We must make sure that we, the people of Texas, never again allow a child to be taken from their parents,” O’Rourke said. “(We must) reunite those kids who have already been separated and rewrite our immigration laws in our image to reflect our experiences, what we know to be true, our values, our interests. And we can take it another step further and free every dreamer from the fear of deportation by making them U.S. citizens.”

O’Rourke said last time he was in Dallas, he met teachers waiting tables to make ends meet. According to O’Rourke, nearly half of teachers in Texas are working a second or third job to pay bills.

“They’re working against other, longer odds, teaching to a high-stakes, high-pressure standardized test that in no way effectively measures their ability to mold students or those students’ potential in the classroom,” O’Rourke said. “Those teachers need us to have their backs, to demand that they are paid a living wage so they can have one job teaching to the child, and not to the test.”

The congressman told the attendees in the 22 months he has been on the road, he has traveled to each of the 254 counties in Texas at least once. O’Rourke said he shows up every day to meet and listen to every constituent.

“We don’t care if you’re a Republican or a Democrat or Independent,” O’Rourke said. “All of us count. All of us matter. All of us are deserving of being heard, being listened to, being fought for, being served, represented. No one is too Republican or too Democrat for us to show up and listen to you.”

San Antonio resident Carlos Soto said O’Rourke’s dedication to visiting every community in Texas is what inspired him to get involved with the campaign. He is part of O’Rourke’s advance team, which plans the logistics of many events.

“I’ve been organizing for almost 12 years and never have I seen a candidate go to rural areas to the extent that Beto is,” Soto said. “I’m from Corpus Christi originally, so it’s really cool to see him go to all of these rural communities to earn votes.”

Omar Dawoud, co-owner of The Marc, said O’Rourke’s campaign reached out to the venue last minute to organize the event.

“They reached out Friday afternoon, so we had about 48 hours to put it all together,” Dawoud said. “Top to bottom, it was me and Ray Cordero.”

Ray Cordero, Upward Bound director and Hip Hop Congress faculty adviser, said O’Rourke’s campaign wanted to organize something fun Monday night because President Donald Trump would be in Houston to campaign for Republican incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz.

As the rally ended, O’Rourke told the crowd they have the power to influence these policies through civic engagement.

“We have to remind ourselves that although this was the decision of one man, every day that these conditions persist in a democracy, it’s on every single one of us,” O’Rourke said. “If the government is the people and we are the government, then it’s up to us to decide the future of these policies at the ballot box tomorrow.”


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