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O’Rourke wins congressional seat

Published: Thursday, November 8, 2012

Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05

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With 65.54 percent of El Paso’s vote, Beto O’Rourke was elected El Paso’s District 16 Congressional Representative Nov. 6. He will replace Silvestre Reyes after his 16 years as a Congressional Representative in January.

    On Nov. 6 Beto O’Rourke became El Paso’s District 16 Congressional Representative, beating Republican candidate Barbara Carrasco. O’Rourke won 65.54 percent of El Paso’s votes as compared to Carrasco’s 32.82 percent, according to an election summary report released by epcounty.com. O’Rourke will be the newest Congressional Representative after Silvestre Reyes’ 16 year run.

“Last night was great, we had a chance to celebrate over 14 months of hard work and enjoy spending time with friends, family, volunteers and supporters,” O’Rourke said. “It feels like El Paso is moving in the right direction, that we’ve decided to be ambitious, to be bold and to do what’s necessary to achieve these big goals. Next steps include going to Washington D.C. for an orientation meeting in the coming weeks and preparing to hit the ground running after we’re sworn in on January third.”

 O’Rourke swept the election with 100,804 votes as compared to Carrasco’s 50,478, an outcome that was expected by many.

“I’m not surprised at the El Paso vote, given its Democratic Party historic heritage here at the border,” said political science professor Kathleen Staudt. “I think he will hit the ground running, given his effective experience in representation at the  local level.  He has a keen sense of El Paso’s strengths.  I love the way he celebrates our border region, our future probabilities of economic prosperity given border people’s multilingual and multicultural assets and our all-around ‘can-do’ attitude, as has been recognized nationally.”

According to Paulina Lopez, president of the Political Science Honor Society, this election, along with the presidential election, generated excitement among UTEP students.

“This is something that gives students a great insight as to how political campaigns are carried out, and to grasp the extensive planning and strategy that are put into them,” Lopez said. “I met many students who were excited to participate in this year’s elections by signing up with the Border Poll Crew for UTEP’s Center for Civic Engagement. I was personally a poll observer, and as a first time voter it was significant for me to witness this election comprehensively. I saw energy coming out of UTEP students especially in regards with registering people to vote and raising awareness that students are an important element in the electoral process.”

O’Rourke has promised to address a few key issues including long international bridge wait times, benefits for veterans and the Mexican drug war. He has stated that El Paso’s voice needs to be heard in Congress where border issues have been neglected, and he has a plan to speed commerce on the international bridges by hiring more staff.

According to the El Paso Times, O’Rourke claims that El Paso should be a leader in all things related to border security and believes he will find a helpful partner in President Barack Obama. He plans to convince Obama that an investment here on the U.S.-Mexico border is an investment in the whole country.

O’Rourke will take the congressional seat this January.

Rebecca Guerrero and Lorain Watters may be reached at prospector@utep.edu.

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