When he is not in Texas, Beto O'Rourke lives a five-minute walk from his Capitol Hill office, in a row house he shares with two Democratic colleagues, Jared Huffman and Salud Carbajal, both from California. Huffman is the landlord.
Beto O'Rourke, whose father was a county judge who once ran for El Paso’s congressional seat, showed little interest in politics until he turned 30. After graduating from Columbia University in New York, where he majored in English, he moved into a converted Williamsburg factory with a few musicians and toyed with becoming a writer.
Foss (Icelandic for “waterfall”) put out two albums, including one called El Paso Pussycats, named for a scuttled ’70s sitcom about a group of high school cheerleaders. O’Rourke, who considered himself the afterthought of the group musically (another bandmate went on to tour with Mars Volta), posed on the cover in a ponytail and a dress. Eventually, he outgrew Brooklyn and moved home to El Paso to start an IT company that also published a digital alt-weekly called Stanton Street.
The El Paso O’Rourke returned to was an incubator for a unique brand of border populism, where issues of trade, immigration, and economic development took center stage. In the age before air travel, the city had been the jewel of the Southwest, a sort of Miami on the Rio Grande where celebrities came to get hitched and revolutionaries plotted at ice cream parlors. (Legend has it Pancho Villa once parlayed with an American general in the living room of O’Rourke’s mission-style home.)
In 2005, O’Rourke and two friends decided to run for City Council against three candidates backed by the city’s Democratic machine, and they won.
In office he survived recall campaigns over a downtown redevelopment plan and a proposal to give health benefits to domestic partners of LGBT city employees, but the defining moment of his political career came four years into his tenure, when the murder rate in Juárez skyrocketed amid an intervention by the Mexican army. El Paso remained among the safest cities in the country, but the violence choked off the flow of people and money that was the lifeblood of its economy. Congress proposed to spend more on border security, but O’Rourke had come to see that the war on drugs had devastated the United States and Mexico without making a dent in production or consumption. He and a colleague, Susie Byrd, floated a resolution asking the government to consider legalizing marijuana instead. El Paso’s congressman at the time was Democratic Rep. Silvestre Reyes, a former Border Patrol officer turned drug warrior. Reyes warned that the resolution would jeopardize federal grants to the city, O’Rourke says, and lobbied behind the scenes to kill the measure. The mayor vetoed it at the last minute, but O’Rourke didn’t abandon the fight. He and Byrd wrote a manifesto, Dealing Death and Drugs, that makes the case for legalization as the only antidote to violence. Soon afterward, O’Rourke decided to run against Reyes.
Reyes was the former chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and had helmed the Intelligence Committee, and he had the support of Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama. He referred to his opponent dismissively as “Robert” and dragged him with an ad implying he wanted to give drugs to kids and another that used footage of O’Rourke falling on the floor at a bar as a City Council member, allegedly “intoxicated.” (O’Rourke said he fell while dancing.) But O’Rourke had caught Reyes napping. He knocked on 16,000 doors and avoided a runoff by 216 votes.
The elder Mr. O’Rourke won elections as a county commissioner and county judge as a Democrat, and was the Texas state chairman for Jesse Jackson’s 1984 and 1988 presidential campaigns. Like many Texas Democrats of his generation, Pat O’Rourke switched parties in the 1990s. He ran as a Republican for Congress in 1992 and county judge in 1998, losing both contests.
When Beto O'Rourke moved home to El Paso after graduating from Columbia University, touring with a punk rock band and working briefly in New York City, he launched a web development company and a short-lived local newspaper.
Initial investments for the newspaper, called Stanton Street after his downtown El Paso address, came in increments between $2,000 and $10,000 from Pat O'Rourke’s friends, according to Lisa Degliantoni, whom Beto O'Rourke recruited from New York to help start the business. Mr. O’Rourke’s father died four months before the newspaper’s first print run.
Mr. Hunt, whose firm is among the nation’s largest developers of military housing, was friendly with Pat O'Rourke since both men were El Paso teenagers. Mr. Hunt became one of Beto O'Rourke’s most reliable business and political benefactors.
Since Mr. O’Rourke first campaign for Congress, Mr. Hunt has donated $4.2 million to Republican candidates for federal office and committees and $141,000 to Democrats.
In Texas he has given $3.3 million to Republicans seeking state office and $143,000 to Democrats—nearly all of which went to candidates from El Paso. Mr. Hunt gave the maximum contribution to both of Mr. O’Rourke’s re-election campaigns.
Along the way Mr. O’Rourke often reflected Mr. Hunt’s priorities.
In El Paso he championed an array of Mr. Hunt’s projects—including a proposed 168-acre downtown El Paso development that would have seized property through eminent domain, which failed, and the successful public financing of a baseball stadium for the minor league El Paso Chihuahuas, which are owned by Mr. Hunt, his son Josh Hunt and two other investors.
Mr. Hunt said in an interview that he has never asked Mr. O’Rourke for political favors and that he wasn’t involved in steering his firm’s IT contracts to Mr. O’Rourke’s web development company.
Rainbow PUSH Coalition October 7, 2018
In this season of political darkness across our country, our individual lights are coming on. We have great democratic leaders running for office! Just look at Rep. Beto O'Rourke from Texas who is running for the U.S. Senate. His father, [Pat O'Rourke], was one of the Rainbow’s 1988 presidential campaign managers. We #believeORourke and need Texas to do the same!!
-Early voting begins October 22
-Election day is November 6
-Too much at stake in this election. VOTE!
- TeamBeto #BetoforSenate
In June 2013 Progressive Democrats of America assigned activists to deliver their material to almost every US Congressman and several Senators. Julie Garcia was assigned as contact for Rep. O'Rourke.
Beto O'Rourke December 2, 2017
Our communities, our state, our country are infinitely better because of Dreamers. Thank you for a great summit in Austin. — with Laura Alejandra Sanchez, Dalila Reynoso-Gonzalez, Emily Pinal, Belen Iniguez and Jessica Espinosa.
Penny Shaw connection
Visit to Border on Father's Day 2018
U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso, addressed a rally in El Paso Texas marching "on the tent city where children separated from their parents at the border are being held at Tornillo Land Point of Entry, on June 17, 2018."
Article in entirety:
- "TORNILLO — World Cup soccer and backyard barbecues were set aside Father's Day morning for hundreds of people who chose instead to descend on this small West Texas outpost that's become famous the last 72 hours for being home to an immigration detention center for children.
- "Lawmakers, political candidates and members of the faith-based community joined people from across the country here to express their outrage toward the Trump administration's practice of separating immigrant children from parents who are seeking asylum.
- ""We decided there wouldn't be a more powerful way to spend Father's Day than with children who have just been taken from their fathers, children who have been taken from their mothers, children who won't be able to be with their family," said U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso, who spearheaded Sunday's protest with former El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar, the Democratic nominee to succeed O'Rourke in Congress. Others attending the demonstration included Lupe Valdez, the Democratic nominee for governor; Democratic state Reps. Mary Gonzalez of Clint and Cesar Blanco and Lina Ortega of El Paso; and Gina Ortiz Jones, the Democrat challenging U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Helotes; and Julie Oliver, the Democrat running to unseat Republican U.S. Rep. Roger Williams.
- "On Thursday, the Trump administration confirmed that Tornillo would house a detention center for immigrant children separated from their parents under the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy. On Friday, that facility was up and running. O'Rourke said he was told Sunday morning that there are 200 minors in the center, 20 percent of whom were separated from their parents. He said the remainder of the children arrived to the border unaccompanied. But O'Rourke said that once the children are separated, they are labeled "unaccompanied" and processed that way so it's unclear how many of them actually arrived alone.
- "The lawmakers and protesters gathered along the small road that leads to the facility and led a short march to the port entrance.
- "Marchers head towards the tent city at Tornillo Land Point of Entry to protest the tent city erected there to house children separated from their parents at the border. Critics have repeatedly mentioned the West Texas heat and questioned why the administration would house children in an area where triple digit temperatures are common throughout the summer. González said she toured the facility and said the conditions inside are humane.
- ""First and foremost, no kid should be in a tent or in any facility, but I think when we think of the tent city we think of Arizona, Joe Arpaio style," she said, referring to the former Maricopa County sheriff who used an outdoor facility for years. "That's not the situation here. There is air conditioning, there are doctors, there are caseworkers."
- "But she said the administration is barring news outlets and even lawmakers from viewing the facilities to keep attention on the facilities and away from a legislative solution to the country's immigration problem.
- ""We're not being told about the situation is like inside so we get caught up in tents, and not on policy," she said.
- "While most Texas Republicans were not going out of their way to wade into the situation, one exception was Hurd, who represents a sprawling district that covers most of the Mexican border in Texas, including Tornillo. Hurd, regularly ranked as the most vulnerable Republican in the Texas delegation, visited the tent city Saturday and came back decrying it as an unacceptable way to combat illegal immigration.
- "Furthermore, Hurd rejected the argument that anyone but the Trump administration was responsible for the policy.
- ""This is clearly something that the administration could change," Hurd told CNN after the trip to Tornillo. "They don’t need legislation to change it. They don’t need Democrats in order to change it. This is a Department of Justice policy, and this is something that’s being enacted by" the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
- "At the Republican Party of Convention Saturday, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz — who O'Rourke is challenging — lay the blame for the current situation on Democrats in Congress, not the Trump administration.
- ""Nobody wants to see a child separated from him or his parents," Cruz told reporters Saturday, proposing that Congress "devote substantially more resources to providing immigration judges so that if a family crosses illegally and if they have a credible claim of asylum, that claim should be processed and processed quickly, ideally immediately, so that if it is a valid claim, they get asylum granted and if it's not a valid claim that they are returned to their home country promptly and expeditiously.
- ""That would be a far more just outcome in terms of laws," Cruz added. "The reasons we don't see that right now is Democrats are filibustering those kinds of common-sense solutions that could protect kids."
- "Land Commissioner George P. Bush, asked about the policy Friday, also pointed the finger at Congress.
- ""To me it's reflective of the failures of Washington, D.C., politics," Bush told reporters. "We need solutions, and that's not only short-term Band-Aid fixes ... but it's also developing opportunities for folks along the border."
- "Asked whether children and parents should be kept together, Bush replied that he did not "want to dive into specifics," but he raised a similar point that Cruz did, acknowledging difficulties in "triaging" various types of asylum cases.
- "Escobar said that the El Paso-based Border Network for Human Rights has scheduled another protest for Tuesday, and that lawmakers and activists have vowed not to let up until the administration rethinks its current policies.
- ""I feel like the rest of the country needs to be as angry as we are on the border," she said. If the administration continues to separate families, she added, then the president will use the policy as leverage to beef up border security and build his long-promised wall.
- "Patrick Svitek contributed to this report."
October 6, 2017-Justin Snider, Democratic Candidate for US House of Representatives, Texas-District 06, received an official 2018 Endorsement from Freethought Equality Fund (FEF) PAC in Washington, D.C. Freethought Equality Fund is committed to support candidates who share the belief in the separation of church and state and in defending civil liberties of all Americans.
Environment Texas award
Beto O'Rourke January 27, 2018.
Appreciate Luke from Environment Texas coming out to the climate forum to present their Environmental Champion Award. It's an honor to be with so many bold advocates in Houston.
Beto O'Rourke December 2, 2017
Our communities, our state, our country are infinitely better because of Dreamers. Thank you for a great summit in Austin. — with Laura Alejandra Sanchez, Jarren Dalila Reynoso-Gonzalez, Emily Pinal, Belen Iniguez and Jessica Espinosa.
- Grateful for the opportunity to learn from the Texas Organizing Project. The hard work of their energized membership is the example for grassroots, on the ground community organizing that Texas is counting on.
South Texas organizer
Stephanie Corte, went to the University of Texas-Pan American in Edinburg, moved to Washington, D.C., to work on Sanders’ Senate finance committee staff and then returned to the Valley this year to serve as O’Rourke’s South Texas field organizer.
June 18 2013, Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), Chairman of the House Liberty Caucus, and Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), the Ranking Member on the House Judiciary Committee, announced the introduction of bipartisan legislation to address National Security Agency surveillance.
H.R. 2399, the Limiting Internet and Blanket Electronic Review of Telecommunications and Email Act (LIBERT-E Act), restricts the federal government’s ability under the Patriot Act to collect information on Americans who are not connected to an ongoing investigation. The bill also requires that secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court opinions be made available to Congress and summaries of the opinions be made available to the public.
A coalition of 32 Members of Congress joined Conyers and Amash in introducing the bill. After introduction, Conyers and Amash issued the following statement:
The following Members of Congress cosponsored the legislation:
Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA) Rep. John Duncan (R-TN) Rep. William Enyart (D-IL) Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY) Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) Rep. Rush Holt, Jr. (D-NJ) Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-NC) Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) Rep. James McGovern (D-MA) Rep. Mike Michaud (D-ME) Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-TX) Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) Rep. Trey Radel (R-FL) Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC) Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) 
Letter on Iran sanctions
The National Iranian American Council commended Rep. James Moran (D-VA) and "all twenty-one Members of Congress who sent a letter to President Obama April 4, 2014, supporting necessary action to ensure medicine and humanitarian goods are not unintentionally blocked for the Iranian people. NIAC strongly supported the letter and has consistently worked to raise awareness regarding the impact of sanctions on the Iranian people"...
- The preliminary nuclear agreement brokered by the P5+1 and Iran included an agreement to establish a financial channel to facilitate humanitarian trade; however, medicine shortages have continued in part due to extensive financial sanctions on Iran and the reported unwillingness of banks to facilitate legal, humanitarian transactions.
Signers: James P. Moran (D-VA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Andre Carson (D-IN), William Lacy Clay (D-MO), John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Sam Farr (D-CA), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Rush Holt, Jr. (D-NJ), Mike Honda (D-CA), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Jim McDermott (D-WA), James McGovern (D-MA), Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Beto O'Rourke (D-TX), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Charles B. Rangel (D-NY), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL).
July 16 2019 Washington DC – Moments ago, Reps. Barbara Lee, Jan Schakowsky, and David Price introduced a resolution calling for the United States to return to compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran deal, from which President Trump withdrew in May 2018.
In response, NIAC President Jamal Abdi issued the following statement:
“Donald Trump’s decision to abandon the Iran nuclear deal has put the U.S. on the brink of war with Iran and threatened to undo the hard won constraints against Iran’s nuclear program. Thankfully, many Members of Congress recognize that there is no military solution to the present crisis, and that the best way to de-escalate is for the U.S. to return to compliance with the nuclear deal. Representatives Lee, Schakowsky and Price should be commended for their years of leadership in advancing peace and diplomacy, including by introducing this important resolution.
“NIAC strongly supports a U.S. return to its JCPOA commitments and first issued a white paper in support of such a move last November. We proudly supported the DNC’s adoption of a resolution committing to return the U.S. to its JCPOA commitments. And we advocated for and welcome the strong majority of Democratic Presidential contenders who have also committed to returning to our diplomatic obligations — including Warren, Sanders, Harris, Buttigieg, Biden, Gabbard, and O’Rourke.
ARA PAF endorsement, 2014
In 2018 Indivisible endorsed Beto O'Rourke.
Sitina Gutierrez connection
Brazos DSA tweets from O'Rourke event, January 2018
Blockwalking for Beto
Judy Lugo August 20, 2018 ·
Great time block walking in McAllen. Thank you Bianca for driving us. On our way back to El Paso tired but would do it again. Thank you Veronica Escobar and Susie Byrd for organizing this and asking us to be part this
With Monica Olvera
Mike Lewis connection
Javier Aaron Paz connection
With Javier Aaron Paz.
With Sean Rivera
Kolby Duhon connection
Mickey Fetonte connections
Mickey Fetonte April 2 2017:
Mickey Fetonte, April 29 2018:
Mickey Fetonte September 6 2018·
Beto's Field Director
Edward Z. Perkins connection
Dominic Eduardo Chacon connection
Andrea Reyes connection
Gabi Harris connection
National Nurses United endorsement
Fran Watson connection
Our Revolution endorsement
Left Up To US endorsements 2018
- US Senate - Beto O'Rourke
- US House District 10 - Mike Siegel for Congress
- US House District 21 - Derrick Crowe for Congress
- US House District 25 - Chris Perri for Texas
- Texas Senate District 25 - Steven Kling for Texas Senate
- Texas House District 45 - Erin Zwiener for Texas House
- Texas House District 46 - Chito Vela
- Texas House District 47 - Candace Aylor for Texas House District 47
- 459th District Judge - Maya Guerra Gamble
- Travis County Court at Law #3 - Paul Quinzi for Judge
- Travis County Commissioners Court, Precinct 4 - Susanna Woody for Travis County Commissioner Pct 4
- Travis County Democratic Party Chair - Dyana Limon-Mercado for TCDP
- Travis County Justice of the Peace, Precinct 3 - Sylvia Holmes for Travis County Justice of the Peace, Precinct 3
Bond, a longtime progressive activist and organizer known for her work on O’Rourke’s 2018 Senate bid against Republican Ted Cruz, left the campaign along with her deputy Zack Malitz. Malitz worked closely with Bond on Sen. Bernie Sanders’ first presidential campaign in 2016.
The departures come as O’Rourke, the former Texas congressman, has sought to professionalize a campaign operation that was, in its earliest days, small and freewheeling. O’Rourke announced his run for the presidency less than a month ago.
Chris Evans, a spokesperson for O’Rourke, did not address questions about the reasons for the departures or whether Bond and Malitz left voluntarily.
Evans said that Bond and Malitz, who worked for O’Rourke during the 2018 Senate race, only served as employees on a “temporary” one-month basis. Democratic operatives who have worked with Bond this year say she considered herself a central part of O’Rourke’s 2020 operation.
In a statement about her and Malitz’s departure to BuzzFeed News, Bond said it was “time for us to move on to other challenges.”
“Launching a presidential campaign without a big staff or even a campaign manager was no easy feat and it took everyone pitching in,” she said. “We’re proud to have been part of the team of deeply dedicated staff and volunteers who nearly pulled off a historic upset in the 2018 Texas Senate race and broke records launching Beto’s campaign for the presidency.”
They remain “volunteers” for the O’Rourke campaign, according to Evans.
“They were not only instrumental to the historic Texas Senate race but they agreed to help get us off the ground in this monumental undertaking of running a grassroots campaign for president in every part of the country,” Evans said in a statement on Saturday. “Becky and Zack remain close friends of the campaign, and true to form, they have already joined our army of grassroots volunteers who are signing up for shifts and committing to electing Beto president.”
Bond is a well-known organizer in progressive circles, serving as political director of Credo, a San Francisco–based activist group that aimed to push Obama to the left during his administration, before joining the Sanders campaign in 2016. On that race, she and Malitz helped build the Vermont senator’s “distributed organizing” program, which aimed to build volunteer leadership networks in areas of the country where the campaign lacked staff.
She and Malitz committed to support O’Rourke’s team in 2020 at a time when some progressives, including a handful of Sanders allies, were critical of the Texas congressman. Several of Sanders’ former advisers still work for O’Rourke.
As a presidential candidate, O’Rourke has tacked more toward the center of the party, saying early in his campaign that he was “no longer sure” that the single-payer "Medicare for All" bill written by Sanders, which he said he supported in his Senate race, was “the fastest way” to achieve universal health care. He's instead backed a plan that gives people the option to buy into Medicare.
Presidential campaign hires
Carmel Martin, a former assistant secretary for policy and budget at the Department of Education, joined O’Rourke’s campaign as his national policy director.
Martin served as a policy adviser for John Kerry and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaigns. And her position as executive vice president for policy at CAP has been held in the past by heavyweights in Washington policy circles, including Melody Barnes before she left to join Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008.
Martin, before joining the Obama administration, worked as general counsel and chief education adviser to the late Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy on his Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee.
In addition to Martin, O’Rourke will continue to be advised by Ali Zaidi, a former associate director at Obama’s Office of Management and Budget and O’Rourke’s senior adviser for policy.
His policy hires are the latest indication of a still-expanding operation at his headquarters in El Paso, Texas, and in early primary states.
O'Rourke also hired Zayn Siddique, a senior policy adviser to O’Rourke during his unsuccessful Texas Senate campaign last year, as deputy policy director. Allison Hunn, an Obama administration alumnus and former legal policy analyst for Democracy Forward, will be O’Rourke’s chief of staff for policy, and Brendan Duke, previously a tax policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, will be associate director.
“As Beto travels across the country meeting with people from all walks of life, we’re building a team committed to ensuring our policies are reflective of the diversity in experiences, backgrounds and voices of all Americans,” Jen O’Malley Dillon, O’Rourke’s campaign manager, said in a prepared statement. “Our national policy team not only has the invaluable experience we need to lead the way on ambitious, innovative solutions on issues spanning from climate change to protecting women’s rights — they also have the compassion and creativity our country demands if we hope to build a government that leaves no American behind.”
- National Journal "The New Faces of the 113th Congress," November 15, 2012
- WSJ Beto O’Rourke’s Past GOP Ties Could Complicate Primary Run By Reid J. Epstein March 14, 2019
- PDA June 2013 Educate Congress Digest
- Beto O’Rourke, Veronica Escobar lead Father's Day march on tent city housing separated immigrant children, accessed June 17
- NSA Surveillance: Amash, Conyers Introduce Major Bill, Bipartisan Coalition of 34 Members of Congress Propose LIBERT-E Act, Jun 18, 2013
- [https://www.niacouncil.org/congress-urges-president-to-ensure-sanctions-do-not-block-medicine-for-iranians/NIAC Congress Urges President to Ensure Sanctions Do Not Block Medicine for Iranians FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Jamal Abdi]
- accessed June 17
- Buzz Feed, A Top Adviser To Beto O’Rourke Has Left His Presidential Campaign Ruby Cramer BuzzFeed News ReporterMolly Hensley-Clancy BuzzFeed News Reporter Posted on April 20, 2019
- [https://www.politico.com/amp/story/2019/06/23/beto-orourke-policy-staff-1376719#referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&_tf=From%20%251%24s Politico, Beto O’Rourke beefs up policy staff By DAVID SIDERS 06/23/2019]