SNYDER, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Texas gubernatorial candidate Robert “Beto” O’Rourke spoke before Scurry County residents Thursday in Snyder. With a large turnout, many of those in support of the democratic candidate, a counter-rally was also held by those in opposition.
Inside Scurry County Library, O’Rourke was also joined by Susan Hays, a Brownwood native, who is running for Commissioner of Texas Agriculture against incumbent Commissioner Sid Miller.
“How often do we get a chance to have that person right there in front of us, that gets to tell us exactly what he thinks,” rhetorically pondered Scurry County Democrat Volunteer Dee Dee Lynch.
Counter-rally co-organizer Jerry Cline told KTAB/KRBC; “He’s not welcome here. Move on down the road. You’re not welcome in Scurry county.”
Outside of the library, Cline showed up with a group of Scurry County residents in opposition to the O’Rourke’s campaign. He said he and his peers felt obligated to let their voices be heard.
“We’re not gonna give Texas up. If we can keep from it, we’re not gonna give it up,” Cline said. “If you support abortion and you support taking my guns away, you don’t belong in Texas it’s just that simple.”
Before beginning his address, O’Rourke looked to all the signs outside reading phrases like ‘come and take it’ and ‘no to Beto.’ He then encouraged the protesters to join in on the conversation.
“If any of you know them or have a cellphone number, welcome them in. They can come in and hold the signs up right here. I’m happy for them to be here,” O’Rourke insisted. “I want them to hear what I have to say, and actually, I want to hear what they have to say.”
With all sides seated together inside the library, O’Rourke spoke on a number of points:
- Education funding
“On average, teachers in this state work a second or a third job to support their habit of teaching our kids.”
“I will fight for Texas Women…That right to privacy to make your own personal decisions, without interference from your government, has been the law of the land for half-a-century… And you know who won that? It was Texas women.”
- Medicare expansion
“That 90 cents on the dollar is your money. You paid it in federal income taxes up to DC. It is now going to almost every other state in the union except for ours.”
- Veteran services
“We should spare no expense, shoulder any burden possible to make sure that we are there for our Veterans: Making sure we have enough housing for everyone who is currently experiencing homelessness, making sure that we set up a Texas burn pit to anyone who was exposed to that, and that we prioritize reducing Veteran suicide.”
- Gun control and access
“Most of us, myself included, grew up with firearms in the household. We also grew up with our parents or our grandparents, or my great uncle in my case, teaching me not only how to shoot, but the responsibility that comes with owning a gun. That’s probably everyone here in this room. Let’s just make sure that is everyone in the state, going forward. Where we proudly defend the Second Amendment while doing a better job of protecting the lives of the people in our community.”
- Climate change and Texas energy
“When it comes to climate change that is helping to produce some of these droughts, exacerbating these fires and natural disasters, Texas has to take the lead. We need to continue to be the Energy State. That means oil and gas will continue to be important, but we need greater investment in renewable energy resources.”
As well as an array of other Texas issues, O’Rourke later opened the floor to questions. To which Big Country residents stepped up.
“What are you going to do to secure our southern border,” one Scurry County resident asked. “And number two: Are you for or against the illegal aliens voting in our general election?”
O’Rourke answered in part; “What about a Texas-based guest worker program that allows people to come here, work, do jobs, earn money and then return to their country of origin – as many of them want to do right now?
The second issue; Do I think that people that do not have citizenship should be able to vote in our elections? Absolutely not.”
Though there was obvious division among attendees, one point was agreed upon by all.
“We might have opposing views politically, but they’re still my neighbors,” Cline shared.
O’Rourke closed his time at the Scurry County Library with the hope that showing up to rural communities will prove their worth to other Texas politicians.
“I hope, and I think we’re gonna show others who want to win elected office,” O’Rourke wrapped. “Others who are already in office, they’ve got to pay attention to rural Texas.”