Beto O’Rourke goes ‘Around the Table’ with voters

The 2020 presidential candidate sits down with three voters at his home in El Paso, Texas, for a conversation about the issues.
22:29 | 09/10/19

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Transcript for Beto O’Rourke goes ‘Around the Table’ with voters
Welcome to around the table where voters get to ask their questions. The service like sticks broccoli heads and these things to bombs based there go to news any time and again. Today we're in El Paso, Texas the home of federal Rourke California. Vento. ABC news this carefully chosen three undecided voters to bring their questions to the table tonight as they decide who will give their vote. In the democratic presidential primary. He seems like a good place for us to start. We're in your home in El Paso, Texas your community just endured horrific and mass murder. And that's what's kept you off the campaign trail he on the noses very well we're we're in this beautiful safe kind. Warm. Welcoming people. One of the safest cities in the United States of America. And also one of the most universities. A quarter of those who live here for born some where else. And more than 80% of the population is Mexican American or Hispanic and I think for those reasons. We were targeted that the thing that makes this so special. And I think contributes so much to the greatness of this country I'm Dave Dave for some reason wanted to take that from us or change us. And I think as as sad as we all war we are also extraordinarily proud of the way they don't paso has responded. Knowing that the act of terror will not define us as the way and in which we. Come together and perhaps example we provided the rest of the country that this is the way that you are good to one another. And you've you've proposed universal. Background checks before how has your view on gun control involve change if at all since the shooting. If it's for proving to escape. The conclusion. That we have too many guns in this country. That are that are. Too easily accessed. There are 320 million muscle and also Americans there are 390 million guns. In this country. And in many places we don't have meaningful background checks. And in every place is almost to replace you can buy. A weapon like the military style assault rifle that was used in El Paso that was designed for no with a purpose than to kill people. I think something that's happening in our community they come from the faith community if people feeling like well that's the first freedom. We'll be taken away and then what's next there's just this year at a time hill about the airport today. I'm behind the guy and can literally had on shirt with an AK 47 on him thanking nine it could face like there's this identity. That's like part of life. Joining gangs and religious freak how these things like co exist together what is common sense funding for one look. Who begin with the a background check on whenever you weapons purchased and every weapon transferred ideally and I think this is. Perhaps a little controversial. But but I think you should also have to have a license for for owning farms you know we've seen. The American murderers and perpetrators. That are writing words from his manifesto before they go on committees and these heinous crimes and it's like. OK we do these developments like ongoing Clinton begun to grow more regulations on gun control and I think in time we also need someone who's going to hold. And accountable for the motivation behind it like I feel like our president now is creating that it's almost both in. Giving a platform for those people who have those believe who believe everything you believe your wife to permit the two. Gonna commit these acts in there's no accountability there's no. Did the late this is wrong so I just wanted from you. What are you gonna do to address that. I think acknowledging. The truth of what you just said is an important place for the president to start. Acknowledging our past and the fact that the very foundation of this country. The greatness in the wealth that was built. For much orchestras built by people who were enslaved and forced to do it kidnapped. And brought here against their will in the first place there's also been and when it comes to communities of immigrants. An undercurrent of racism of native isn't. That it was always under the surface to some degree but not that. That was on felt by the people against him it was directed. But at least we. Attempted to form a more perfect union we attempted to. Live by the ideals. That there were foundation of the country were all created equal never quite got there but. We never stop trying until now when you have a president who was so openly. Nativist and racist and though that is a very strong word is accurate and I'm confident that if we don't call things. By their true names will never addressed them and so great interest absolutely. Calling Mexicans. Rapists and criminals. Calling Klansmen. And neo Nazis very fine people. Proposing to ban all people want religion from the shores of a country does comprised of people the world over for every tradition. Of a faith. You know people are going he can't going to happen very economic you're right I don't. I'm not blaming him for what I'm saying if he's giving people permission to do it explicitly. What we call the president. It's racist when she walked by best. Calls news. No and I don't think. As a country. Liberals politics. We reported right. And is there any number reasons. This is sports. And I want to be very respectful. And I think it's important to describe. His actions his decisions. The consequences of them. An initial people can make an informed decision going into the 20/20 but I will say and it tests that. Trump has encouraged the races in in this country. I've read where when he first got involved in politics for toady wanna be involved in politics you cry. You were not happy when he humans are involved and he was on the City Council finishing his six years from City Council. And out of the blue Monday. Tony you want to run for the US congress. It comes to my surprise. And I didn't necessary. The most positive perceptions. That had been in office. That's at times. And thought I was afraid that he would change then he would go to CBs. And different life and he would be distorted. I'm and just you know. I think she's when she. And you go to France. He didn't. That's up from but we then spent the next you know you're. Talking about it. What that might explain how that might affect. And next. What and then as they ran for president. It didn't. No no no into the yeah. Now when I call. You know at 11 o'clock at night just got back I'm shredded and I'm just like any justices really hard we have a really hard to tomorrow she's there by the moral support. She's also doing that for Ulysses and mall in Henry when they come home from school and she's also working. And so. Her strength is just extraordinary and so looked out. Absolutely one. What happened. Fought for sinners yeah she wears them. Warner oppose these students for months. No I I would ensure that. Anyone who comes to this country. And when they come to a port of entry. Or whether as this administration is forcing them to do they're crossing in between ports of entry to US Mexico border. They're Seeking Asylum or refuge or shelter if they're fleeing persecution or domestic abuse. They will not be criminally prosecuted. And in fact it will not be detained or warehoused or put in the Border Patrol so in Clinton texas' so many kids have been forced to do. We would have a family case management program that would allow them their dignity to live in the community at a fraction. Of the costs with a much better chance that they would attend their court hearing follow our laws. And and pursue any illegal safe. Orderly process to come to this country study you want to criminalize. Or you don't mind if there still are so and so in those instances I do the permanent legal residence the green card holders already here. Make them US citizens free dreamers when he fear of deportation. Address the underlying causes about migration. And refugees. And asylum seekers from Central America. And then I expected to be it lawful orderly say process for you come to this country and I expect you to follow that. And in those exceptions where for some reason you have to crossing between port of entry Seeking Asylum. We're gonna take care of your books. If if we've given you that waffle safe orderly path to do that in you still insist. On defying our laws I will reserve the right to criminally prosecute you. So I think that's a fair bargain for us to ask. To the court's claim for twenty years. He seemed to think twenty years. She first came here illegally into the country better paper bear that in her husband and eventually her kids to look to a wounded. Because it took so long the morgues are inundated with it right. That to a very capable of coming into the energy easily. But it's okay twenty years that and it took a lot of money because she literally turning okay I'll these arms to help them. Warmth you know and then years later house my case going what you it's behind him so she'd get tired it. Twenty years after Hyundai related to uses. So let them. Part of immigration reform would have to be increasing the the caps that we have right now. The per country caps that we have so. After coming from the Philippines or Mexico. To countries we await more than twenty years. You don't have that kind of a wait time which. Which when when you have twenty years you can understand how somebody is gonna make that decision know what. I make money from my family. There's an importer who wants to hire me there is. A family member who I want to live with and at some point I'm just. That's going to be too compelling for me. So. Legalizing those who are here are already doing these jobs providing a safe. Lawful orderly quick path. To come in and then guarding being vigilant against those who who have no place in this country this issue Lucien. It it really. Is it's a human issue for me or aren't you. And me. Sports that don't pay it. Spot and he's involved. Where all. Well there's includes me. It's so tests are UA evangelical slash liberal. Scott didn't they were like evangelicals have gotten I'd like we have the villain I still. That if you're evangelical we anti. We iron. Not you know we're not liberal or not involved in social just adds none of those things. We feel politically how much we're looking for a writer option and I didn't in 2060. In the presidential election because morally like I clicked why she added. I'm thrill actress and who is not okay with two for. Since this is our conversation about my long. Who. Raised us in the Catholic. Home and I try to find the common ground and have shared with her dad. As the state has restricted the right. For woman to make wrong decisions about her whole body and has closed down so many clinics that provide abortions. They're also closed down clinics that provide cervical cancer screenings and family planning help and just to build his C a provider. In a state that has. Not expanded Medicaid and has made it soared to see a doctor were the least some short statement country and that has in part led to. In maternal mortality crisis that is three times as deadly for women of color. That wasn't intended consequence I don't believe that was what law makers and legislators wanted but but that has been the end result and so I'm. I hope that I've found some common ground with my mom. All in saying that. Whether it's Planned Parenthood or another family planning clinic. And in addition to ensuring that choice means not only having the right but the access to. The provider in the services. It's also about saving lives in in this country in their communities. It was broken. Education and how you paper. Oh. That's my conscience and Susan in teaching. Comment on a significant effect but also because my mom I don't think room here. I'm curious chicklet me. Among them my dad and so my mom actually pays for it. Author of if you go to school as well as if worth up to go back to school and received her masters and so is very important to me because. I'm about to graduate now and I'm more nervous and getting anything that I'm not going to be with a stable with a graduate because how my I wouldn't cause right now if I didn't have a law. Alarm every freshman year like being a terrific university and called my mom in me like I can come homely do you mean to come home. It is too expensive. So that we need. We need. College to be affordable. But on top of that we often have to pay attention to this schools and institutions they get aren't our kids in our youth some college because I was saying earlier. When school that severely underfunded when your minority you're more likely to go to a school in a low socio economic area and doesn't have adequate schools to teach our teachers are not being paid well. And so we can talk about free college in. I think that the lofty goal that the same time. When are we going through also. Support both that this is that help get our argues there you know I mean. And fell I think. Education reform as they hold it needs to be a big topic in I would let the here which you have to think about your plans and if that and number one priority for me. The big priority for us and for all the reasons that you just described. Starting in. Elementary education ensuring that every child. Begins an education not four fighters holed. In kindergarten but it three or four years old in pre K. We learn that some children. On the first day kindergarten and we just had first day of school yesterday El Paso. They're already ten months back in reading comprehension and and they are just likely never going to tkachuk. When you start out at that level of disadvantage. So what if you moved the starting line back. So it was a little bit. Or even four for every one in that race. What if you acknowledge that segregation today in public education. In many places is as bad or worse than it was on the eve of congress is born in 1954. We now know that minority majority schools. Nationally are underfunded to the tune of about 23 billion dollars. So we propose it permanent education fund that would. Meet dot gap every single year. We also propose a 500 million dollar annual investment in historically black colleges and universities and minority serving institutions. To create teacher training academies that ensure that we get the absolute best teachers in front of those kids. And then when it comes time to go to college. Or to choose a career. Every young person should be able to make that choice without regard to cost so. Debt free higher education and not just tuition. But room and board and books and that should not be a barrier to entry and it is right now and you mentioned you were fear as you approach graduation or even. The written the decision you almost needed to leave college so there would be more affordable for gambling. Don't want you worrying about that so we need to make investments. There but we also have to ensure that for anyone who chooses not to go to college. That there's a path for them as well and that means elevating unions the ability to interpret to ship to learn a trade or skill. That you'll have for the rest your life. And will ensure that you command a living wage and dignity for the rest of your life. I love everything you're paying but I also might. Now. So it's not inexpensive. And it will require serious investment in. But it it would produce an extraordinary return for this country to its investment in in people. And communities. And their ability to reach their potential so as an example. That college plan that I just described. Could be between 75 to eighty billion dollars a year. The return on that is the earning potential of everyone who goes to college. It's not a question resources as you said earlier we're the wealthiest country on the face of the planet. It is it is where we choose to direct. That wealth and the investment going forward in my very strongly as it passed Libyan people and their potential and that's health care that's education. That's a living wage. That's child care it's it's the health of their of their community so third choices for us to make for sure but we can afford it so I never came hats or so since. Didn't fully understanding your health care. Plan to keep you say more about that in just a menace to him for the goal is universal. Guaranteeing. Our quality care. The way to get there is. Ensuring that everyone who today has no Carol aren't insurer cover in Medicare Medicaid and private insurance. Automatically be enrolled in care. If you were insufficiently insured. You have insurance and you can afford the co pays the premiums too much you can't bridge that deductibles and does not even use the health care that you've been paying for. You can elect to move in the Medicare. What do you have employer sponsored insurance that you like. Because it works for you were treated family you can keep it if you're a member of a union. That fought for health care plan. And maybe you did that in lieu of a wage increase or other earned benefits and you like that plan you can keep it. That way we get universal coverage. And preserve choice in trust people to make their their own decisions. How late we wanna sleep you're gonna idiots how to tell us China life. How are you an idea that they feel like you're so respectful and other people really need a Bulldog. You know when it comes these debates to be honest with you. This idea. That you can. Release a canned attack climate you have rehearsed. That you can say you know Byron in nineteen semi three. You did the following things. That's what does not mean to be honest with you and I I recognize that it's not those other contenders. Who are the challenge the country it's it's don't strong. And in the solutions. Cannot be defined by. Pitting us against one another writing parts of the country it's kind of be. Including everyone and that's that's what I want to get across. In every conversation every moment every town hall we're gonna do a better job of doing on on the debate stage so. We've we've in. Is that that incredibly. Artificial. Format with nine of the people on the stage at 1030 seconds to make your point you know I wanna do a better job really do I want to be strong. But wait a minute but at some point then you were asking about this earlier you know what's. What is success like for you and success is winning the nomination successes defeating trump. Success is leading and in helping to heal this very divided country successes is is doing that without compromising myself. Or what we believe in and and who we are and that's a price. It's going to be somebody else you know. I gotta be me at that even today and and so when you're right it's it's. It's a challenge it's absolutely. Steelers and yeah. I call you up on a specific and you can correct me if I'm wrong please. I've seen you in. Clinton Michigan talking about the latest crisis why have you done an event here in Newark. You know. Highlighting the lake crisis standing at a podium and sang. You know this is a major issues thing going on for over a year now the challenge for people like me living here. Instead at this point I have no idea with the belief.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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