MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - A former congressional candidate is trying to bring a grassroots effort to Minnesota.
Beto O’Rourke campaigned for the first time in the state as a presidential candidate, hosting events in Lakeville and Minneapolis Wednesday.
His message was about unity and his ability to bring people together from different backgrounds and parties.
Minnesotans came out to hear him and his plans for the country, giving a warm welcome on a cold, rainy day.
“Grateful to be in the great state of Minnesota,” O’Rourke said.
He spoke in front of a full house at Angry Inch Brewing in Lakeville and it didn’t take long for this presidential candidate to get to some of the key messages of his campaign starting with immigration.
“We don’t need 2,000 miles of wall 30 feet high at a cost of $30 billion.
O’Rourke spoke about healthcare and the failings of the current system.
“We’re meeting people who do not have the ability to get their healthcare they need to be well enough to live in their full potential,” O’Rourke said.
He got passionate talking about gun violence and school shootings, the most recent of which was in Colorado Tuesday, calling for universal background checks as one fix.
“We lose more than 30,000 of our fellow Americans every year in this country to gun violence and no country comes even close to this level of carnage,” he said.
At O’Rourke’s second stop at Thomas Edison High School in Minneapolis, he told a standing room-only crowd that one of his gravest concerns is with the environment.
“We can not meet this by half measures or half steps or only half the country,” he said. “It has to be all of us with all that we got, that we will free ourselves from dependence on fossil fuels.”
One woman FOX 9 spoke with said she’s looking for hope in this next election.
“If we can get on our way and can have someone to bring hope and that’s what I think Beto does,” said Elise Smith-Dewey.
With a long road ahead until 2020, those here tonight are not necessarily ready to support one candidate yet.
O’Rourke spent about an hour at each location and took questions, including some on student debt, working across party lines, campus sexual assaults and concerns about racism in the country.