NORFOLK — Beto O’Rourke is making his rounds on the East Coast as part of his presidential campaign, making the first stop in Virginia at Charlie’s American Cafe here.
This first meet-and-greet event was packed with people who lined up outside to hear him speak.
O’Rourke’s big talking points surrounded expanding medicare, positive immigration policies, women’s rights and mental health care.
After giving a speech he took questions from the crowd.
People who came to hear him speak asked him what he was going to do about protecting women’s rights and rights for women of color, how he was going to tackle health care, what he’s going to do about climate change, how he’s going to protect LGBT rights and what he had to say about fixing the national debt.
Juan Marable, who attended the meet-and-greet, described the event as small but intimate.
“I want to hear what the real ideas are behind his campaign,” he said.
Aaron Najera echoed that sentiment, saying he was paying attention to what O’Rourke had to say but so far liked that the Texas Democrat had positive ideas about immigration.
“I like how young he is, he appeals to a younger crowd,” Najera said.
Rebecca Maywald said she believes O’Rourke’s the man who can step up to President Donald Trump and represent the people.
“To fight a bully you can’t back down, and I think he’ll [O’Rourke] do it,” Maywald said.
Another attendee, Shawna Alston, a sophomore from Granby High School, came out to see O’Rourke despite not being able to vote in the 2020 elections.
“He’s really politically savvy and I want to be aware of what’s happening in politics,” she said.
“It is important that we have a candidate that will appeal to people young and old,” said Ruth Schepper, long time Tidewater resident.
She said she was tired of the division and liked how O’Rourke seemed to be able to get both young people as well as old people excited about his ideas.
O’Rourke will continue his campaign trail through Virginia over the next few days.
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The Democrat officially announced his campaign at his hometown of El Paso, Texas on March 30, according to his campaign’s announcement.
O’Rourke served on the El Paso City Council from 2005 to 2011. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012 after defeating incumbent Silvestre Reyes in a Democratic primary.
Instead of seeking re-election in 2018, he ran for U.S. Senate and was narrowly defeated by Republican incumbent Senator Ted Cruz.