Congressman Beto O’Rourke Meets Asian Leaders for Support vs. Cruz

Congressman Beto O’Rourke (center) flanked by Sri Preston Kulkarni (far left), Texas State Representative Gene Wu and Democratic party activist Ling Luo (right).

Congressman Beto O’Rourke (center) flanked by Sri Preston Kulkarni (far left), Texas State Representative Gene Wu and Democratic party activist Ling Luo (right).

By Pramod Kulkarni

HOUSTON: Since the election of Lloyd Bentsen in 1988, Texas has not elected a Democrat to the US Senate. With the polarizing politics of Donald Trump, many political analysts are seeing a Blue wave in the country during the 2018 mid-term elections.

One Democratic candidate who is hoping to ride the Blue wave in the red state of Texas is Congressman Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke, who represents the US 16th Congressional District, which includes the city of El Paso. Congressman O’Rourke is challenging current incumbent Republican Senator Ted Cruz.

As part of his Sentatorial campaign, O’Rourke came to Houston on Friday, June 15 to hold a roundtable discussion with Asian-American leaders in Houston at his local campaign headquarters in the Galleria area. The event drew about 50 Asian-American leaders and political activists, including several from the Indian and Pakistani communities.

The roundtable discussion was organized by Democratic party activist Ling Luo with State Representative Gene Wu as the emcee and 22nd Distric Candidate Sri Preston Kulkarni in attendance.

The hot topic of the roundtable was immigration. O’Rourke spoke about his trip to a detention center at the border to see the separation of adults and children, which is generating significant consternation. “If there were ever a community, it would be Houston, if there were ever a state, it would be Texas that would understand what this means for America and our ability to continue to inspire one another and the rest of the world, said O’Rourke. “We will be defined by our actions far into the future.”

Family immigration is a topic of interest to the Asian-American leaders as well since the Trump administration is planning to replace family or “chain” immigration with merit-based immigration.Since many Asian-American businesses are family owned, family immigration is necessary as the business is staffed by parents, children and close relatives. Citing his support for family immigration, O’Rourke said, “It doesn’t matter how small, how rural, how Republican, I can guarantee that the new businesses that are opening up were started by immigrants.”

Another topic of concern for the Asian-American audience was that of winnability. How would O’Rourke turn the tide of Republican wins in this red state?”

O’Rourke replied that he has a strong chance as independent polls have placed him within single digits of Cruz. “We’ve out-raised, without accepting a dime from PACs, the Cruz campaign by millions of dollars.” Wu and Kulkarni also cited the value of turning out the Asian-American vote, as evidence by their strong support during the primaries.