Beto O’Rourke is running for president.
The former U.S. Representative for Texas’ 16th District who gained a national platform after unsuccessfully attempting to unseat Senator Ted Cruz in the 2018 midterm elections announced his campaign in an online video, posted Thursday.
“The challenges that we face right now — the interconnected crisis in our economy, our democracy, and our climate — have never been greater, and they will either consume us or they will afford us the greatest opportunity to unleash the genius of the United States of America,” he says in the video. O’Rourke is sitting beside his wife, Amy Hoover Sanders, who is the executive director and co-founder of a charter elementary school in El Paso.
“This moment of peril produces, perhaps, the greatest moment of promise for this country and for everyone inside of it,” O’Rourke continues, who says that he wants to “unite a very divided country” through reforming the criminal justice system, increasing access to health care, strengthening labor rights, and confronting climate change head on. “We are truly, now more than ever, the last great hope of Earth.”
I am running to serve you as the next president. The challenges we face are the greatest in living memory. No one person can meet them on their own. Only this country can do that, and only if we build a movement that includes all of us. Say you're in: https://t.co/EKLdkVET2u pic.twitter.com/lainXyvG2n
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) March 14, 2019
O’Rourke joins an increasingly crowded field of Democratic candidates hoping to unseat the current president, Donald Trump, in the 2020 presidential election. His opponents include many of his former congressional colleagues, including Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Senator Kamala Harris of California, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii.
The former congressman’s record on LGBTQ+ rights is strong: He has advocated for the passage of the Equality Act, which would grant federal nondiscrimination protections to queer and trans people nationwide; voted to amend the Violence Against Women Act with explicit LGBTQ+ protections; and has condemned Trump’s ban on trans people serving in the military, which will go into effect in April.
That said, O’Rourke voted for FOSTA-SESTA, as did the other eight candidates who were in Congress last spring. Hailed by its supporters as an effort to stop online sex trafficking, FOSTA-SESTA has produced real, material harm to sex workers ever since Trump signed it into law in April. If O’Rourke continues to position himself as a pro-LGBTQ+, pro-labor candidate, he should expect to address this on the campaign trail.