An Open Letter on Climate to Texas

Dear Texas:

We need state representatives who bring clean energy jobs to Texas — and tackle climate change at the same time.

Three things have become clear:

  1. Texans are worried about climate change and want to see government action.
  2. Communities of color and low-income communities already bear the burden of environmental pollution — and will be hit hardest by a failure to solve the climate crisis.
  3. Climate solutions will revitalize our economy. …


You mean, there’s a place you can go for food?

I was talking to the El Paso food bank CEO Susan Goodell this morning. She told me about an experience she’d had at a Walgreens earlier this week.

“The cashier asked me why I was buying so much sunscreen. I explained that it was for our volunteers who are out in the sun distributing groceries at the food bank. And she said, ‘You mean, there’s a place you can go to for food?’”

It turns out that the cashier is the only one in her family of seven who has a job, and on that one meager income (a starting cashier makes $10/hr) is unable to make ends meet. …


Best I’ve felt since we’ve been sheltering in place and keeping our social distance was today, volunteering at the food bank in El Paso.

El Pasoans Fighting Hunger serves a three-county area of more than a million residents. And, as you can imagine, it is overwhelmed right now with demand for food. They are serving far more than the 200,000 people that are typically food insecure in our region.

As food servers, bartenders, small business owners, retail employees and many others find themselves out of work, they are no longer able to make ends meet and are now dependent on our food bank to feed themselves and their families. …


I’m voting for Joe Biden today in the Texas primary because he can beat Donald Trump; because having him at the top of the ticket will help our down-ballot candidates, especially in Texas; and because he can bring people together to reach the ambitious goals we have for our country.

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Joe can beat Donald Trump because he is the clear contrast to Donald Trump. Joe Biden is kind and decent. Empathetic and caring. He will reassert our moral standing in the world at a moment that it’s been called into question, and he will take a strong stand for democracy and the rule of law at a moment that both are under attack at home and abroad. We have never had a threat so existential to our democracy as the one we face in Donald Trump. …


Follow this link to use a new resource to hold Texas legislators accountable for their actions on gun violence. This powerful spreadsheet tool tabulates and compares, by name, the votes of our state representatives on gun-related bills in the last legislative session. Read up on your Rep, learn more about the bills below, and take action.

Texas is in crisis when it comes to gun violence, but you wouldn’t know it from the lack of action we see from our state government.

More than 3,500 Texans died in firearm deaths in 2017, the most recent year for which we have data. We claim four of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history. And in our state, women are 24% more likely to be the victims of gun homicides compared to the national average, due in part to our weak laws to disarm domestic abusers. There’s also alarming inequality when it comes to the race of the victim: the vast majority of the state’s gun homicide victims are black or Hispanic. …


When the Constitution was adopted on June 21, 1788, it immediately became the exception to the rule of human history, announcing to the world that we would be governed by laws and not by men. To guard against human tendency to concentrate power and authority — to keep would-be kings, dictators, strongmen and thugs from wresting control of this noble experiment — a system of checks and balances was implemented. There would be separate branches of government, and a division of power and responsibility between them. …


There’s a painting that hangs in the Capitol rotunda depicting General George Washington in front of the Continental Congress 236 years ago, resigning his commission as the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army.

The artist, John Trumbull, believed that it illustrated “one of the highest moral lessons ever given to the world.”

Why?

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Because here was a man at the height of his powers, a man who had led America to a stunning defeat of the most powerful military on the planet, a man who could have made the case to be commander for life, or even King, a case that would have resonated with many in a young, unstable country still not free from the military threat of Great Britain or foreign interference in our affairs… who nonetheless voluntarily resigned his commission and gave up his power. …


Our campaign has been about seeing clearly, speaking honestly and acting decisively in the best interests of America.

Though it is difficult to accept, it is clear to me now that this campaign does not have the means to move forward successfully. My service to the country will not be as a candidate or as the nominee. Acknowledging this now is in the best interests of those in the campaign; it is in the best interests of this party as we seek to unify around a nominee; and it is in the best interests of the country.

I decided to run for President because I believed that I could help bring a divided country together in common cause to confront the greatest set of challenges we’ve ever faced. I also knew that the most fundamental of them is fear — the fear that Donald Trump wants us to feel about one another; the very real fear that too many in this country live under; and the fear we sometimes feel when it comes to doing the right thing, especially when it runs counter to what is politically convenient or popular. …


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The United States has, by far, the largest prison population of any country on the planet. Our 2.3 million fellow Americans behind bars are disproportionately people of color and people with disabilities — a consequence of policies that have prosecuted certain communities more than others and further perpetuated by a school-to-prison pipeline that sees black children five times as likely to be suspended or expelled as white children and where students of color with disabilities face exclusionary discipline at significantly higher rates than their peers without disabilities.

Our criminal justice system touches far too many American families, and its consequences leave an impact far beyond the incarceration of a given individual. In the U.S. today, 2.7 million children have an incarcerated parent, including 1 in 9 African-American children. Incarceration also places a significant financial burden on family members. It frequently means losing a breadwinner, as more than half of incarcerated male parents were the primary source of financial support for their children. Moreover, families incur an average of $14,000 of debt from court fines and fees. …


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Our country knows all too well the devastating effects that opioid overdose and opioid use disorder have had on our families and our communities. Each day, more than 130 individuals die after overdosing on opioids and in 2017, the last year for which data is available, over 47,000 Americans died as a result of opioid overdose, which includes not only prescription drugs, but heroin and fentanyl. 68% of those overdoses occurred among men. It has also been reported that from 2015 to 2016, African American men, Latino men, and African American women saw an increase in opioid death rates.

About

Beto O'Rourke

El Paso, Texas.

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