Beto stumps in Marshalltown

T-R PHOTO BY ADAM SODDERS - Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke shares his policy platform from a tree stump in front of the Mowry Irvine Mansion Friday afternoon.

Democratic Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke is known for standing on things during campaign stops.

From atop a tree stump in front of a crowd of more than 100, O’Rourke shared his political platform Friday afternoon at the Mowry Irvine Mansion on Marshalltown’s West Main Street.

“From this point forward, I hope we are Americans first, because the challenges before us are the greatest of our lifetimes, however old you are,” he said.

O’Rourke discussed bipartisan legislation he worked on while representing his home state of Texas as a Congressman. He also said he stopped in every one of Texas’ 254 counties to talk to voters from all political backgrounds as he ran unsuccessfully against U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018.

Despite the loss, O’Rourke said he was proud of the high turnout in that election and wants to bring the same approach to his run for president.

“I could care less if you’re a Republican or Democrat, where you live, to whom you pray, who you love, how many generations you have been in this country or whether you just got here yesterday,” he said.

O’Rourke also shared policy ideas with the audience.

“People are dying far too often of diabetes, of the flu, of curable cancers because we have not found the political will, though we have the resources, to take care of them while we can,” he said. “We have an economy that works too well for too few and not at all for too many.”

O’Rourke also called for more investment in public education across the country and for national and international action to reduce and reverse the effects of climate change.

He said he supports strengthening unions and ensuring that high schoolers graduate college and are career ready. He also said he wants to open up apprenticeship opportunities to people young and old who want to learn a skilled trade.

O’Rourke said he supports responsible gun ownership, but called for measures like universal background checks when it comes to buying firearms.

He said he also wants to close the urban-rural divide in America.

“If we want to revive rural America, let’s start by listening to rural America,” O’Rourke said.

Marshall County Democratic Party chairwoman Jeannine Grady said she first became aware of O’Rourke in 2016 when he and others in congress live-streamed a sit-in concerning gun violence.

“I discovered that he had tapped into the best use of social media for a politician,” she said. “I believe that we are lucky to have Beto O’Rourke among a brilliant field of candidates.”

O’Rourke is one of a handful of 2020 presidential candidates to visit Marshalltown. Others include former U.S. Rep. John Delaney, entrepreneur Andrew Yang and U.S. Sen. Cory Booker.

A growing field of Democrats are vying for their party’s nomination to face U.S. President Donald Trump in 2020.