Updated: March 31, 2018 at 4:08 p.m.
By David Wilfong, NDG Contributing Writer
Election season is underway, and with it comes the excitement of public appearances, speeches and rallies. But Senatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke spent much of his time in DeSoto during Thursday’s campaign visit in a small church conference room surrounded by a small group of Black faith leaders from the southern sector of Dallas County.
O’Rourke told the small gathering he was not there to convince them to vote for him. He was primarily at the meeting to listen.
“I want to be sure that I’m listening to everyone’s story and that those stories comprise this campaign, and what we’re able to do serving in the Senate,” O’Rourke said. “That’s the opportunity that you, Pastor (Marcus D.) King, have given me today. So I just want to tell you I’m grateful, and I want to be true to this opportunity and I want to make sure I don’t talk too much more and have a chance to listen, and respond to the great ideas that come forward.”
The ideas came.
O’Rourke was given a brief synopsis of the history of DeSoto and the Best Southwest area. The community representatives lamented the lack of public transportation in the area, which was a holdover from the days when DeSoto was a primarily white city, and opting out of the opportunity to join the DART service area was seen as a step in preventing minorities from coming in.
Community development was another key issue, with a special emphasis on how certain companies seem to avoid minority-majority areas. Also brought up was the subject of bail reform and the legalization of marijuana.
O’Rourke revisited the subjects later when he appeared before approximately 300 local residents at the DeSoto town hall meeting.
King, the senior pastor at Disciple Central Community Church where the meeting took place, came away from the discussion with an optimistic view of the upcoming electoral battle.
“I studied a little bit about him before I came to the meeting today,” King said. “And actually hearing him, hearing his heart, I think he’s a person who’s open for change and a person who’s ready to make change. That’s what we need in Texas, and we need in the senate. So I’m very excited about that.
“I think right now, the numbers from the election that just took place, that’s very promising. I think also because of the climate of America right now, and Ted Cruz being connected to the president – even though he ran against him – I think Democrats in Texas really want to rise up and get some changes taking place. I think right now the momentum is there. There’s a good chance that he can actually unseat Ted Cruz.”
Look for full coverage of O’Rourke’s visit to DeSoto in the next issue of the North Dallas Gazette.