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Beto O'Rourke Campaigns in N.H. With a Warning on Climate Change

Sarah Gibson for NHPR


Former Texas Congressman and presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke says climate change needs to be more of a priority in the 2020 election. Fresh off a campaign stop in flood-ravaged regions of Iowa, O’Rourke told voters in Hooksett:

“It’s not God. It’s not Mother Nature. It is us - our emissions, our excesses, our inaction in the face of the facts. And we know that this will get exponentially worse over time unless we change course now.”

O'Rourke has released a $5 trillion plan to curb climate change over the next decade, making it his first major policy proposal. He calls for cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, reducing methane emissions and ending gas and oil drilling leases on federal land.

Hannah David, a preschool teacher from Chichester, took the morning off so she could ask O’Rourke whether he would support universal preschool.   


Credit Sarah Gibson for NHPR
Beto O'Rourke (middle) looks on as wife Amy talks with voters during her first trip on the presidential campaign trail.

“It’s an investment that produces a very handsome return, so yes on universal pre-k,” he said, then asking his wife Amy to chime in.

“It’s such critical work that we need to make sure that we got the best teachers in those pre-k classes, so we need to pay them more,” Amy O’Rourke said.

This was Amy’s first time joining O’Rourke on the presidential campaign trial. She stood in the audience during her husband’s stump speech and spoke to voters afterward as they lined up for selfies with Beto.

Waiting in the selfie line, Sam Pepin, a resident of Bow and senior at NHTI-Concord’s Community College, told NHPR he had come to get O’Rourke’s stance on mental health and suicide rates among young people.

Pepin says he and many of his friends attempted suicide during their teenage years, and called the issue a “silent crisis” that he wanted to put on all candidates’ radars.


Credit Sarah Gibson for NHPR
Sam Pepin, left, says getting presidential candidates to talk openly about depression and suicide will help start a conversation about a "silent crisis" in N.H.

O’Rourke told Pepin he would tackle mental health by offering Medicare to all uninsured Americans. Then he pivoted to one of his major issues - criminal justice reform.

“In so many states, like mine in Texas, we’ve abandoned those who aren’t insured,” he said. “Our largest provider of mental health care services is the county jail system at large. It shows how warped our priorities have become.”


Sarah Gibson joined NHPR's newsroom in 2018. She reports on education and demographics.
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