It’s been more than 20 years since Beto O’Rourke last visited Pittsburgh.
But the former Texas congressman seemed right at home Wednesday on the University of Pittsburgh campus in Oakland as he stopped to snap selfies with students who greeted him by name and to answer their questions about his position on issues like student debt and creating jobs.
This was O’Rourke’s second stop in Pennsylvania since he started campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination — his first was a visit to State College in March — and he had kind words for a city that he said has much in common with his own hometown of El Paso.
“Having seen Pittsburgh, I think about these beautiful hills, I think about the neighborhoods that have so much character and history,” O’Rourke said. “I think about a community that has distinguished itself by welcoming asylum seekers and refugees and immigrants from the world over.”
O’Rourke said Pittsburgh and El Paso also are two cities that have endured mass shootings in the past year.
On Aug. 3, a gunman killed 22 people at an El Paso Walmart. On Oct. 27 of last year, 11 people were killed at the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill.
“I think the Pittsburgh people, the El Paso people, the people of this country understand that we’ve got to stand up against both this racism, this terrorism, and also this gun violence by doing the right thing,” O’Rourke said to reporters following his events in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. “And that means an end of the sale of weapons of war, and a mandatory buyback. And then making white nationalist, domestic terrorism the number one domestic law enforcement priority.”
O’Rourke’s gun control proposals were met with cheers from the crowd gathered under the tent in Schenley Plaza, steps away from Pitt’s campus, where O’Rourke held two campaign events before moving on to stops in Erie and Ohio.
By Jamie Martines for TRIBLIVE.COM
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