Beto O’Rourke talks guns, energy jobs, and power grid plan during Tyler visit
Democratic candidate backpedals on guns: ‘I’m not interested in taking anything from anyone’
TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke made a stop at Tyler’s Glass Recreation Center on Tuesday afternoon.
The former El Paso Congressman visited East Texas as part of his ‘Keeping the Lights On’ tour. O’Rourke focused on the 2021 winter storm and the collapse of the power grid, while highlighting his plans for reform. O’Rourke said he would winterize the state’s gas supply along with connecting the Texas grid with the rest of the country.
“Longview didn’t lose power,” he said. “El Paso didn’t lose power. Neither of us are in ERCOT. Both of us are connected to the rest of the grid so that when demand outstrips capacity, we can draw down electrons from the rest of the country. And this is important because we’re an energy producing state. When we are producing more than we have demand for, we can sell it out on to the rest of the nation’s market.”
If elected, O’Rourke said he’ll appoint an independent monitor to ensure what happened during the winter storms of February 2021 doesn’t happen again.
“There is no cop on the beat for gas traders,” O’Rourke said. “We’re gonna have a cop on the beat to make sure it never happens again.”
And it was energy that brought out people protesting O’Rourke’s visit - saying his energy plan would eliminate oil and gas jobs. An event countering O’Rourke’s visit called ‘Save Texas Energy Jobs’ was hosted by Republican State Rep. Jay Dean of Longview.
“We’re just here to talk to different people, which we have, about how important the industry is and things we need to be careful of as we go forward when it comes to the Green New Deal,” Dean said. “We think there’s some things that are not factual and want to make sure everyone knows how important the industry is not only to our area but the whole country.”
O’Rourke responded to protestor’s concerns about jobs, saying he wants to deliver better and higher-paying jobs.
“I want to expand on our energy leadership by making sure that we defend the oil and gas while bringing in jobs in hydrogen, geothermal, wind and solar,” O’Rourke said. “These are some of the fastest growing jobs in America and I want them created here.”
Speaking to reporters, O’Rourke also took a question about his controversial stance on guns and remarks made in 2019 about taking away AR-15s and AK-47s.
“I’m not interested in taking anything from anyone. What I want to make sure that we do is defend the Second Amendment,” he said. “I want to make sure that we protect our fellow Texans far better than we’re doing right now. And that we listen to law enforcement, which Greg Abbott refused to do. He turned his back on them when he signed that permitless carry bill that endangers the lives of law enforcement in a state that’s seen more cops and sheriff’s deputies gunned down than in any other.”
As for the supporters who came out to hear O’Rourke speak, many say they’re ready for new leadership in Texas.
“I’ve just been so impressed with Beto,” said Gary Gross of Tyler. “I find his candor is amazing. Some people just seem like they’re always telling us the truth and some seem like they’re never telling us the truth.”
When asked about the reason for including Tyler on his statewide tour, O’Rourke said it’s a part of the state often overlooked.
“And the reason that I keep coming back to Tyler is it is just as important as any other part of the state,” he said. “And we can’t just say that, we need to show that.”
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