Democratic U.S. Senate nominee follows campaign stop here with exclusive interview
by BOB PALMER, Jimplecute Editor
Jefferson is a long way from El Paso, but Congressman Beto O’Rouke, fresh from his victory in the Democratic Party Primary, paused in his campaign to unseat Republican Sen. Ted Cruz to explain his position on legalized marijuana and other issues to the Jimpletcute.
“It just pertains to marijuana,” O’Rouke said. “I want to allow doctors to prescribe marijuana to their patients where it would do the most good.”
O’Rouke, who campaigned in Jefferson the week before the primary, also wants to end the federal prohibition of marijuana, but not other drugs, to allow states to control its sale, like in Colorado, without interference from federal government.
The El Paso congressman also wants to see Dreamers – illegal immigrants brought to the US as children – granted permission to stay in the US.
“We are the defining immigrant state,” O’Rouke said. “Whether we came from Ireland, Mexico, China or Africa, we have the experience to write immigration laws in the best traditions and experience of this state.
“Let’s keep dreamers here and make sure they can contribute to their full potential as citizens. Let’s give those laboring in the shadows an opportunity to get right with the law and do their best for the country they have chosen to give their life to. Let’s make sure our laws reflect our values and our interests.”
Listening to what the people need guides his thinking, O’Rouke said.
“I think of it is showing up and taking direction from leaders from Marion County,” O’Rouke said. “People tell me they don’t have broad band internet, that local community colleges need support and people are missing the education they need to get better jobs.”
The candidate says he has heard some very specific requests from communities and some very broad requests.
If elected O’Rouke, a Democrat, will pair with Republican Sen. John Cornyn to represent Texas.
“I’ve introduced legislation with John Cornyn,” O’Rouke said. “We have a good relationship. We won’t always see eye to eye, but will get along to benefit Texas when we can. The only way we can get the business of this county done is if we can put aside political differences and work together.”
Although as many as 500,000 more Texans voted Republican in the March 6 primary than Democrats, O’Rouke found a silver lining.
“Texas has once again become a voting state,” he said. “I’m encouraged at the Republican turnout and the record Democratic turnout.”
An English literature major in college, O’Rouke was quizzed about his favorite work and what book was he reading now.
“This won’t win me any votes,” O’Rouke said with a laugh. “I really love the Odyssey and reading the stories from that time. I love that stuff.”
Currently, O’Rouke is reading a biography of President Andrew Jackson.
“It’s fascinating to me how (Jackson) concentrated so much power in the presidency,” O’Rouke said. “I’m learning a lot.”