BOERNE, Texas — Beto O'Rourke on Friday continued his "People of Texas" campaign with a stop at Boerne's town hall.
O'Rourke gathered at the town hall and talked about his vision for making Texas an affordable place to live, work and raise a family. On his agenda: creating jobs, raising the minimum wage, more support for educators, expanding Medicaid, and reproductive rights.
O'Rourke has been outspoken since the leak of a draft majority opinion from the Supreme Court that would effectively throw out Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed access to abortion services.
He is running against current Governor Greg Abbott who has remained largely silent on the Supreme Court's leaked draft. However, during an appearance on a conservative radio show, Abbott said Texas could "resurrect" the 1982 case of Plyler v. Doe, which guarantees the right of education for all children residing in the U.S.
O'Rourke spoke on several things including voting saying 750 polling locations have been closed down in the state in the last ten years --- mostly in places with people of color.
"We used to have a license to carry program in the state of Texas to use your license to carry a firearm to prove who you are at the polling place," O'Rourke said. "But we won't allow you to use your student I.D. at the University of Texas to prove who you are at the polling place. That tells you who is supposed to vote and who is not supposed to vote in the state of Texas."
O'Rourke said his campaign will be knocking on the doors of the people targeted by what he calls voter suppression.
"When you see this attack on democracy in this great state, and it's very very real," O'Rourke said. "Please know that we have the power to overcome it. Not only is it possible, we've done it before under much greater odds."
O'Rourke then went on to touch on the healthcare in Texas, saying that he wants Texans to be healthy enough to be able to do whatever it is they want to do. He then went on to discuss how Abbott has gotten in the way of that.
"This governor Greg Abbott has rejected $10 billion a year of Medicaid expansion money which is not money that fell from the sky or grew on trees," O'Rourke said. "It is your federal income taxes paid by you and your fellow Texans, sent up to Washington D.C."
O'Rourke added the funds are reportedly going to other states like California and Florida --- essentially to say the funds are going everywhere they should be intended to go.
O'Rourke said he wants to make sure that the best jobs are created in Texas --- saying increasing the minimum wage to $15 is the only way to make ends meet, join unions and wipe away debts.
He spoke on mental health and said that Texas ranked No. 50, adding that the Harris County Jail was the largest inpatient facility in Texas.
"When we win, all of that changes. We fully fund mental healthcare. We make sure that people who need the help get the help," O'Rourke said. "No matter your age, no matter the differences between us we want to make sure that you're well enough to live to your full potential."
The state's education system and support for educators was addressed more than once.
O'Rourke told KENS 5 teacher pay need to increase "at a minimum another $8,000 a year just so we can get close to the average nationally."
"We also have to look out for retired teachers who haven’t had a cost of living adjustment since 2004."
He also mentioned wanting to cancel the STAAR test across the state and replacing it with a "better diagnostic."
President of the Boerne Area Democrats, Susan Dollar, said Boerne needs more affordable housing.
O'Rourke said he would work with local communities to ensure there's enough housing in the state.
"We’re gonna use tax credit and tax credit policy to make sure there’s financing and resources in place to help developers build out the housing, the apartments and the homes that we need," he said.
He then told the audience that if you text 'Texas' to 20377, then you will receive a text from his campaign to receive a sign up sheet for door-knocking.
You can watch the entire event here.