Just hours after officially announcing his candidacy for president, Beto O’Rourke (D) held his first stop at the Lost Canvas in Keokuk.
O’Rourke announced his intentions to run in a video earlier on Thursday and thanked Keokuk for welcoming him in.
“Keokuk is the first stop in our campaign to be President of the United State of America,” O’Rourke said. “It’s a huge, huge honor to be here with you”
The presidential announcement comes after comes after an unsuccessful bid for a US Senate seat from Texas. O’Rourke lost to incumbent Ted Cruz (R).
Some think he may have a chance at being a better candidate for president, however.
“So far from the things I’ve heard, I think he’s capturing 30-50 age range. The worries and concerns of that working age range,” Keokuk resident Laura Betts Harmon said.
Youth could be a big factor for O’Rourke as, at 48 years old, he is the fourth youngest democratic candidate that has declared so far.
“I, kind of, would like to see a younger crowd in the White House. I think we’ve done the 70’s-something in the White House and that’s not turning out so good,” Harmon said.
O’Rourke said the challenges Americans face today are the greatest challenges of their lives.
He named the economy, US democracy and the world climate as some of the biggest among these challenges, but believes these challenges can be solved.
“We have the single greatest mechanism to call forth the genius of our fellow human beings. This democracy, more than 320 million people strong, can bring the ingenuity, the creativity, the resolve of an entire of an entire country and each one of these challenges can and will be met,” O’Rourke said.
The candidate spoke in favor of Universal Healthcare, the legalization of marijuana to assist with mental health and to drop crime rates, raising the minimum wage and women’s reproductive rights.
O’Rourke said he plans to run a clean campaign and will not attack other candidates also running.
“Critically important that we do not denigrate or demean any other candidate or talk about their personal lives,” O’Rourke said.
Although he is one of more than a dozen candidates who have thrown their hat into the ring, O’Rourke spoke very highly of those he is running against for the DNC nod.
“Any single Democrat running to date, and I may not be able to enumerate every single one of them right now, would be far better than the current occupants of the White House,” O’Rourke said.
To close out the speech, O’Rourke gave a final, simple statement.
“I’m running to serve you as President of the United States of America,” O’Rourke said.