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Trump, ICE, education, and more: Where Beto O'Rourke stands on key issues

John C Moritz and Madlin Mekelburg, El Paso Times Published 5:00 a.m. MT March 14, 2019 | Updated 5:44 p.m. MT March 14, 2019CLOSE Meet Beto O’Rourke, the El Paso politician who has his sights set on Washington D.C. Wochit, WochitThe border has been the defining issue of Beto O’Rourke’s clashes with the president, but…

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John C Moritz and

Madlin Mekelburg, El Paso Times
Published 5:00 a.m. MT March 14, 2019 | Updated 5:44 p.m. MT March 14, 2019

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Meet Beto O’Rourke, the El Paso politician who has his sights set on Washington D.C.
Wochit, Wochit

The border has been the defining issue of Beto O’Rourke’s clashes with the president, but here’s where he stands on some issues, paraphrased from his website, social media platforms, news reports, public speeches and interviews on the campaign trail.

Breaking up monopolies that stifle competition

O’Rourke said during his Senate race against Ted Cruz that he would promote regulations on business and industry that protect consumers, promote competition and grow the economy. He supports stronger antitrust regulations to break up monopolies he says stifle competition and innovation.

To meet the needs of a changing workforce, O’Rourke said during the Senate race, “We must connect those out of work with the high value jobs being created right here in Texas by investing in the training, certification and apprenticeship programs that make it possible.”

MORE: Who is Beto O’Rourke? Get to know the possible 2020 presidential candidate

Ending cash bail that punishes people for being poor 

As rumors about a presidential run built, O’Rourke sent an email to supporters outlining his criminal justice reform plans. He reiterated his long-standing commitment to legalizing marijuana as key to reforming the U.S. justice system. The other reforms that O’Rourke advocated in the email:

  • End the current system of cash bail that, he said, punishes people for being poor.
  • Eliminate private, for-profit prisons from the United States justice system.
  • End the use of mandatory minimum sentencing for non-violent drug offenses.
  • Provide meaningful re-entry to help people who have been incarcerated resume their lives and contribute to their full potential.

Legalizing marijuana as key to reforming justice system

The email was just the latest example of Beto O’Rourke calling for a discussion about legalizing marijuana. As an El Paso city representative, O’Rourke became an early voice to consider the legalization of marijuana.

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U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke took time during the road trip to discuss marijuana laws.
Courtesy of Beto O’Rourke’s Facebook

As drug cartel war raged just across the border in Juarez, Mexico, O’Rourke introduced a City Council resolution urging Congress to seriously debate the legalization of drugs, in particular marijuana. The 2009 non-binding resolution passed unanimously, but it was vetoed by then-Mayor John Cook and derided by then-Congressman Silvestre Reyes. Reyes warned such a position could threaten federal funding for the city. El Paso’s state legislators also opposed the resolution. Four city representatives reversed their vote after the veto, and the resolution failed.

He and another city representative at the time later published a book about drugs and the border, “Dealing Death and Drugs: The Big Business of Dope in the U.S. and Mexico.”

Increase aid to public schools in low-income communities

O’Rourke says he would like to increase federal aid to public schools in low-income communities. He also says teachers and local education officials should have more “autonomy” when it comes to setting classroom standards “and reduce the emphasis on arbitrary, high-stakes tests.”

O’Rourke has also fought school vouchers for private and charter schools, saying vouchers would take much-needed money away from public schools.

Rejoin the Paris Climate Accords

During the Senate campaign, O’Rourke said he favors a mix of renewable energy and protecting the traditional fossil fuel energy sources that have long served as the backbone of his state’s economy. He also wants the United States to reverse President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accords.

Support a path to citizenship for immigrant children

O’Rourke, who hails from a border city, is a fierce opponent of Trump’s plan for a border wall and immigration and border security would likely be one of the defining differences if the two face each other directly. He has also rallied to protest the administration’s family separation policy for people who enter the United States without documentation. He supports a path to citizenship for immigrant children who crossed the border with parents or other family members.

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‘We can do better than current (ICE) policies’

O’Rourke was one of 34 members of the U.S. House to vote against a resolution pushed by Republicans that expressed support for Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and rebuffed calls to abolish the agency. There were 133 Democrats who voted present on the bill, meaning they did not support or oppose the measure. 

MORE: GOP attacks on Beto O’Rourke: How President Trump and other Republicans criticize him

The vote, in the summer of 2018, was part of a Republican-led effort to get Democrats on the record on the issue, as calls from activists and some members of the party to end the agency grow louder. More moderate Democrats have dismissed such calls, while others, including O’Rourke, have tried to take a more nuanced position on the agency.

“I don’t support the abolishment of ICE, but it’s wrong to pass (legislation) that praises some of the practices that need reform,” O’Rourke wrote on Twitter after the vote. “Those of us who call the border home, including ICE officers & border patrol agents who live in our communities, know we can do better than current policies.” 

Ensuring healthcare to all Americans

O’Rourke said on Facebook last year that “single-payer Medicare-for-all program is the best way to ensure all Americans get the healthcare they need.” He later modified his position, saying Medicare for all “is one option” toward universal coverage.

On his Senate issues page, there was no mention of Medicare for all or for a single-payer plan. Instead, he calls for beefing up Obamacare, including adding an optional plan where policyholders could buy into a government-run plan similar to medicare.

Trump’s involvement with Russia enough to warrant impeachment

During a campaign stop in Corpus Christi, O’Rourke said Trump and his campaign in 2016 colluded with Russia to swing the election and the president’s actions last month with the Russian leader in Helsinki are cause enough to bring impeachment charges.

“To have the president of our country stand on a stage with Vladimir Putin, and defend Putin instead of the American people and this democracy that has withstood attacks for 242 years and counting should be cause for concern,” he said.

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Read or Share this story: https://www.elpasotimes.com/story/news/2019/03/14/beto-orourke-stances-2020-us-policy-trump-wall-ice-education-energy/3110524002/

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Dona Ana

Car accident kills three, including an El Paso man, Sunday in New Mexico

Sun-News report Published 9:00 a.m. MT March 26, 2019 | Updated 9:01 a.m. MT March 26, 2019CLOSE Do you know what to do if you’re in an accident? WochitHIDALGO COUNTY — A fiery crash along Interstate 10 in western New Mexico claimed three lives, including an El Paso man.New Mexico State Police responded to the fatal…

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Published 9:00 a.m. MT March 26, 2019 | Updated 9:01 a.m. MT March 26, 2019

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Do you know what to do if you’re in an accident?
Wochit

HIDALGO COUNTY — A fiery crash along Interstate 10 in western New Mexico claimed three lives, including an El Paso man.

New Mexico State Police responded to the fatal head-on collision at mile marker 19, near Lordsburg, about 3:30 p.m. Sunday, March 24.

Police said a 2015 Freightliner semi-truck was traveling east on Interstate 10, when, for unknown reasons, it crossed the center median and hit a west-bound 2013 Kenworth semi-truck head on. The Freightliner’s trailer hit a 1999 Dodge pickup that was also traveling west. Both semi-trucks caught on fire.

Three people died in the crash: Sean White, 50, of West Covina, California, was the driver of the Freightliner; Jose Apodaca, 47, of El Paso, was the driver of the Kenworth; and Susan Rojo, 47, of Sierra Vista, Arizona, was a passenger in the Dodge.

A 51-year-old male driving the Dodge and a 13-year-old female passenger in the pickup, both believed to be from Arizona, were transported to an area hospital with critical injuries.

Alcohol is not believed to have been a factor and seat belt use has not been determined. Police are continuing to investigate.

More: A train hit a pedestrian in an El Paso crash Tuesday morning

More: Car accident kills 11-year-old boy Sunday in East El Paso

Read or Share this story: https://www.elpasotimes.com/story/news/2019/03/26/car-accident-kills-three-including-el-paso-man-sunday-hidalgo-county-nm/3276208002/

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Dona Ana

Beto campaign manager was aide to Barack Obama in 2012, signals shift in O'Rourke strategy

John C Moritz, El Paso Times Published 6:03 p.m. MT March 25, 2019 | Updated 7:37 a.m. MT March 26, 2019CLOSE Linguist Roberto Perezdiaz sheds light on the pronunciation and mispronunciation of the nickname ‘Beto.’ Mark R Lambie, El Paso TimesThe move signals the former El Paso congressman is willing to invest in top political…

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John C Moritz, El Paso Times
Published 6:03 p.m. MT March 25, 2019 | Updated 7:37 a.m. MT March 26, 2019

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Linguist Roberto Perezdiaz sheds light on the pronunciation and mispronunciation of the nickname ‘Beto.’
Mark R Lambie, El Paso Times

The move signals the former El Paso congressman is willing to invest in top political talent as he seeks to emerge from a crowded field of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination.

A former top strategist for Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election effort is joining Texan Beto O’Rourke as a campaign manager for his 2020 presidential bid.

The addition of Jen O’Malley Dillon gives O’Rourke a seasoned, high-level operative as he attempts to distinguish himself in a crowded field of candidates seeking to challenge President Donald Trump next year.

“We’re exited that Jen O’Malley Dillon has joined our team,” O’Rourke said Monday in text message forwarded by his campaign. “Her leadership and creativity will be a great addition to a campaign that is already doing so much to bring people together to overcome the greatest set of challenges this country has ever faced.”

I’m so excited to join the @betoorourke team and get to work building a campaign that will lift people up and unite them to meet our challenges, and that will show up everywhere and listen to & value every voice.

— Jen O’Malley Dillon (@jomalleydillon) March 25, 2019

O’Malley Dillon was Obama’s deputy campaign manager. She said in a series of tweets that as a mother of two she wants to make a better world for her children. Her hiring was first reported by the New York Times.

“I’m so excited to join the @betoorourke team and get to work building a campaign that will lift people up and unite them to meet our challenges, and that will show up everywhere and listen to & value every voice,” she said in one of the tweets.

MORE: Beto O’Rourke campaign announces location for El Paso rally

She added, “and not gonna lie, pretty excited for our kids to get a chance to live in El Paso, where” her husband grew up.

Her husband, Patrick Dillon, was the deputy director of political affairs and special assistant to Obama.

O’Malley Dillon is a co-founder of the political communications firm, Precision Strategies, which worked for Obama in 2012 and also represents the John F. Kennedy Library and Foundation, according to its website.

Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston, said the hiring of O’Malley Dillon is a signal O’Rourke recognizes that he cannot run his presidential bid with the same seat-of-the pants style that became a trademark in his narrow loss to U.S.Sen. Ted Cruz in Texas last year.

“Getting someone who knows what it takes to win, especially an old Obama hand, is huge,” Rottinghaus said. “Going from a U.S. Senate campaign to a presidential campaign is like going from the minor leagues to the major leagues. This says Beto knows he needs top talent.”

MORE: Beto fundraising record: $6.1 million from donors is an ‘important number’ for O’Rourke

O’Rourke, a former three-term congressman, gave up a safe Democratic seat representing El Paso to challenge Cruz. He entered the presidential race March 14 and immediately hit the road to campaign in Iowa, New Hampshire and other early primary and caucus states on next year’s political calendar.

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Days after saying he would join the presidential race, O’Rourke said he had raised $6.1 million in the first 24 hours after his formal announcement — the biggest first-day haul of any of the announced Democrats. He edged Bernie Sanders’ $5.9 million, raised from 223,000 individual donors. The O’Rourke campaign said later that it received 128,000 unique contributions.

O’Rourke plans what he’s calling a “launch” on Saturday with a morning rally in El Paso to be followed by two more home-state rallies — one in Houston that afternoon and a nighttime event in Austin, a block from the Texas Capitol.

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Dona Ana

A train hit a pedestrian in an El Paso crash Tuesday morning

Aaron Martinez, El Paso Times Published 7:32 a.m. MT March 26, 2019 CLOSE If you know the man who on March 12 walked into the Walgreens at the Fountains at Farah and stole more than $600, you could earn a reward. Courtesy Crime Stoppers of El Paso, El Paso TimesA pedestrian was struck by a…

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Aaron Martinez, El Paso Times
Published 7:32 a.m. MT March 26, 2019

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If you know the man who on March 12 walked into the Walgreens at the Fountains at Farah and stole more than $600, you could earn a reward.
Courtesy Crime Stoppers of El Paso, El Paso Times

A pedestrian was struck by a train early Tuesday morning in the Upper Valley, officials said.

The incident happened at Spur 16 and Doniphan Drive near Canutillo High School, El Paso Police Department officials said.

The pedestrian’s current condition and name were not released.

The El Paso Police Department’s Special Traffic Investigations unit is investigating the accident.

No further information has been released.

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Aaron Martinez may be reached at 546-6249; aamartinez@elpasotimes.com; @AMartinez31 on Twitter.

Read or Share this story: https://www.elpasotimes.com/story/news/crime/2019/03/26/train-hit-pedestrian-el-paso-crash-tuesday-morning/3275396002/

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