Beto O’Rourke: The 7 Issues Guide


Beto O’Rourke, Photo by MICHAEL STRAVATO via The Texas Tribune

The Democrats have a big field of candidates running for President in 2020. To briefly use a sports analogy, I see our candidates as the starting players on the Blue team, each bringing their own unique strengths to the table in a bid to take our country in a very different direction than the one we’re on today.

But as we well know from 2016, the media (and especially social media) gets fixated on non-substantial issues that take up all the oxygen. Plus, they don’t give the candidates the same treatment or the same amount of airtime.

In order to help voters get to know the Democratic candidates, I’ve gathered quotes and information about what the candidates have said or done in regards to the 7 issues that midterm voters identified as the most important. I hope that these guides serve as a helpful starting point for you as you look into which candidates (or how many candidates!) you are interested in supporting in their bid to become our next President.

Today, let’s get to know Beto O’Rourke!


Career Highlights

✦ Former U.S. Representative, Texas 16th District (Jan. 2013 – Jan. 2019)
✦ Former Mayor Pro Tem of El Paso
✦ Former member of El Paso City Council



Universal Healthcare: “While Mr. O’Rourke supports universal health care … he hasn’t committed to a specific way to get there. During his Senate campaign, he suggested that universal health care could take the form of a single-payer system or “a dual system,” in which a government-run program would coexist with private insurance.” Source 

Affordability: “He does support expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and has urged Texas to do so. Other points in his 2018 platform included allowing the government to negotiate prescription drug prices with manufacturers and creating incentives for insurers to participate in the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges.” Source

Women’s Health: “During his senate campaign, he was also recorded talking about how the maternal mortality crisis is affecting black women and spoke about the importance of keeping clinic opens so women can receive essential health care.” Source

Mental Health: O’Rourke was an early sponsor of the Veteran Urgent Access to Mental Healthcare Act (H.R.918). It passed the House in 2017. Source 

Pro-Choice: “An abortion-rights supporter, O’Rourke co-sponsored a bill that would have prohibited states from adding any limits to abortions before a fetus is considered viable, and placed no limits on abortions after viability if a doctor concludes the life or health of the mother is at risk. He has voted against efforts to limit abortions to 20 weeks of pregnancy or less.” Source 


Climate Change

Paris Climate Accord: “He supports the Paris climate accords, and has also made a point of emphasizing effects that climate change is having: more storms like Hurricane Harvey, for instance, which devastated Texas.” Source 

Green New Deal: “Mr. O’Rourke spoke positively about the Green New Deal, calling it technically and logistically doable.” Source 

Climate Action: “O’Rourke also stressed the importance of looking at the problem from an economic point of view. He pointed out that we will have to spend billions of dollars on issues like keeping our coastlines safe, instead of, for instance, making tuition affordable for anyone who gets into college.” Source 

Environmental Record: O’Rourke has a 95% rating from the League of Conservation Voters, based on his voting record in Congress. Source 


Civil Rights

LGBTQ Rights: “O’Rourke would make it illegal to discriminate based on sexual preference, and give same-sex married couples access to all the benefits of heterosexual couples.” Source

Transgender Rights: “He opposes banning transgender people from the military.” Source

Disability Rights: “…they mention how Beto cosponsored a bill to end sub-minimum wage of people with disabilities (HR1377) and his No Vote on HR620 which dismantles the Americans with Disabilities Act. … It’s important to note that Beto is also a cosponsor of Disability Integration Act – DIADIA in the House (HR 2472). This bill would make it a Constitutional RIGHT for us to live in the community opposed to costly and inhumane institutions.” Source

Criminal Justice Reform: “He called for closing private and for-profit prisons, decriminalizing marijuana and expunging the records of people previously convicted of possessing it, eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent crimes, and reforming the bail system so people charged with misdemeanors would not be incarcerated because of their inability to pay.” Source

Criminal Justice Reform: “O’Rourke backed eliminating the cash bail system, which he says punishes the poor disproportionately and creating “meaningful reentry” programs to reduce recidivism.” Source

Veterans’ Rights: O’Rourke was the lead sponsor of the Express Appeals Act (2017) which enacts “a pilot program to provide veterans the option of using an alternative appeals process to more quickly determine claims for disability compensation.” He was also the lead sponsor on legislation that required “the continuation of tuition assistance programs for members of the Armed Forces for the remainder of fiscal year 2013.” Source


Gun Reform

Conceal Carry: “He also opposes concealed carry reciprocity, which would make concealed carry permits granted in any state valid nationwide, forcing states with strict licensing requirements to recognize permits from states with looser standards.” Source

Assault Weapons: “Assault weapons should be for military use only, O’Rourke believes. He would ban them for personal sale or use. … He has said he is ready to debate a possible ban on high-capacity magazines, which allow weapons to fire many rounds without reloading.” Source

Background Checks: “O’Rourke would expand background checks to make them universal for all gun purchases.” Source

Arming Teachers: “[O’Rourke] kept up his attack on the National Rifle Association and reiterated his opposition to using guns to protect schools during a town hall speech last weekend.” Source


Voting Rights

Voter ID: O’Rourke signed onto legislation that would have banned requiring voter IDs to vote. Source

Felony Voting Disenfranchisement: “He also emphasized rehabilitation for offenders released from prison, including the restoration of voting rights.” Source 

Expanding the Voting Rights Act: “As president, I will sign into law a new Voting Rights Act,” O’Rourke said. “Together, we will end gerrymandering, we will get big money out of our politics, and all across this country, we will have automatic and same-day voter registration.” Source 

Expanding Voting Rights: O’Rourke co-sponsored H.R.12 & S.1088 in 2015 that would have expanded automatic voter registration to all states. Source 


Economic Inequality

Taxes: “I think corporations should be asked to pay a greater share into the success of this country. The wealthiest at a time of historic income inequality should be asked to pay a greater share. I don’t know what the levels should be at, but I know that the tax cuts from nearly two years ago of $2 trillion at a time that we had $21 trillion in debt, at a moment of extraordinary need across the country, was one of the most irresponsible things that the country has ever done.” Source 

Minimum Wage: “He said he supports a $15-an-hour minimum wage.” Source 

Equal Pay: “He’s also tweeted about the need for equal pay, and he co-sponsored the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would help makes wages more transparent in the workplace.” Source

Importance of Unions: “At a time when unions are under attack, let’s not forget that they are the backbone of our workforce. Critical to bringing more Texans into better, higher paying jobs. Essential to making our communities, businesses, and economy stronger.” Source

Tariffs: “O’Rourke has criticized Mr. Trump’s trade policies, including the imposition of tariffs, which have hurt some farmers and blue-collar workers. In his Senate campaign, he emphasized the needs of farmers, calling for a stronger crop insurance program and federal investments in rural infrastructure, including high-speed internet, roads and schools.” Source


Foreign Affairs

Russia: “O’Rourke took foreign policy shots at Cruz, accusing him of being too silent as President Trump seemed to embrace Russian leader Vladimir Putin. ‘On that stage in Helsinki, as he defended Vladimir Putin instead of the United States of America, that was collusion in action.'” Source

North Korea: “Whatever it does to hamper that government’s ability, to work with other countries in the world, to ratchet up the diplomatic and international pressure to forestall a war and further nuclearization of the peninsula is worth trying.” Source

China: “When have we first alienated every single trading partner we have, as this country has done under Trump’s leadership, before confronting one of the largest economies in the world today, one of the largest markets for soybeans for corn for what we produce in Iowa and Texas and around the country? Let’s make sure we hold other countries of the world accountable, but let’s not do it at the expense of our farmers, our growers, our producers, those who are fundamental to the success of the U.S. economy.” Source

Iran: O’Rourke said he backed the nuclear deal because “without firing a single shot, without sacrificing the life of a single U.S. service member, it was able to stop the country of Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons.” Source

Saudi Arabia: “O’Rourke criticized Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses and the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen.” “Saudi Arabia must be held accountable.” Source


Legislative Record (includes enacted legislation & bills sponsored): Beto O’Rourke

Campaign website: Beto for America

Check out all of our 7 Issues Guides: Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Julian Castro, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Kirsten Gillibrand, Jay Inslee, John Hickenlooper, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders, John Delaney, Joe Biden, Eric Swalwell


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4 replies

  1. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    Today I bring you the 10th installment of TokyoSand’s excellent series, The 7 Issues Guide, helping us get to know a bit about the platforms of the democratic candidates running for the office of president next year. Beto O’Rourke is on deck today. Last year, Mr. O’Rourke challenged Senator Ted Cruz for his Senate seat and came very close to winning. He is, in my opinion, an exciting candidate, so let’s learn a bit more about his platform. Thank you, TokyoSand, and your diligent volunteers, for helping us get to know Mr. O’Rourke!

  2. Reblogged this on Bennet Kelley's Clippings & More and commented:
    Political Charge’s latest edition of its 7-issues guide with former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke.

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