Jordan Steyer, journalism and sustainable studies senior and El Paso native, is an enthusiastic supporter of fellow El Pasoan Beto O’Rourke’s bid to become the first Democrat elected to statewide office in 24 years.
Electing O’Rourke, an El Paso congressman, to the U.S. Senate would be a historic moment in Texas politics. Steyer said young voters can help O’Rourke win.
“I don’t think Texas has seen this kind of candidate in a while,” Steyer said. “He’s just super progressive, and that’s really weird for Texas to have somebody that’s so pro-marijuana and pro-everything. I’m hopeful, but I am also realistic, and I’ve seen some statistics where millennials and younger voters are making up most of the registered voters right now in Texas.”
Steyer said she first heard about O’Rourke when he was a member of the El Paso City Council from 2005 to 2011.
“My parents talked about him for a little bit when he was on city council, and I think that was my first exposure to him,” Steyer said.
Steyer said she has always been interested in politics but became much more politically aware during the 2016 election, the first time she was eligible to vote.
“I was interested in politics because my parents always had been,” Steyer said. “I’m the way I am because of them … But once I got the chance to vote finally, I started teaching myself more about politics and keeping up with the news.”
The first time Steyer got a chance to see O’Rourke speak was at his campaign event with Leon Bridges and Willie Nelson at the end of September, which was attended by roughly 55,000 people.
“We got there four hours early, and I was in the second row because I was also taking pictures for another publication,” Steyer said. “My roommate and I went because he is also a photographer and he’s also from El Paso … (Beto) was just super passionate, he was wearing his blue shirt and the sweat was everywhere like his trademark. You could see like the passion when he was speaking — he was just yelling about immigration and human rights.”
Steyer said O’Rourke’s authenticity and work ethic throughout the campaign have strengthened her support for him.
“He’s a people person,” Steyer said. “He’s really charismatic, and he’s been described as that. I think the fact that he’s been to every single county is really important too.”