Beto O’Rourke

I met Beto O’Rourke at Joy AME Church in South Dallas just before he was about to meet the pastor and knock on doors in the neighborhood to register new voters with his organization Powered by People. The group registers voters and fights voter suppression.

He said members of his group have become certified voter registrars in every county and he’s engaging future voters by talking to people about issues that interest them. What interests O’Rourke right now is voter suppression. He said thanks to the efforts of people like Rep. Jessica Gonzalez, those efforts in the Legislature have been at least delayed.

So the big question was whether he’s running for governor and joked that he should feel free to announce that in Dallas Voice. His honest answer was that he’ll do what will best serve the people of Texas, whether that’s as a candidate or campaigning for another candidate.

How successful has his group been? He’s gotten hundreds of people certified as registrars who have registered thousands of new voters.

One of the most successful efforts has been registering young voters at a high school in Laredo. He hopes to expand that effort around the state.

He called his efforts a “long, tough, frustrating process” that must continue through getting people to the polls.

He called voting the most important thing that happens in a democracy and his door knocking a way to connect people to their democracy.

On a federal level, he called on Congress to pass the For the People Act.

“More than anything, it will defend the right to vote,” he said.

— David Taffet