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Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke meets with Macomb County voters for a "real conversation"

Lauren Janes
Michigan Radio

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke met with Macomb County voters on Wednesday.

At a small diner, a group of ten Macomb County residents told O'Rourke their concerns about America. Education and health care were at the top of the list. The former Texas congressman says he wants to bring voters into the conversation.

“We had to do nothing more than show up with the courage of our convictions and listen to and learn from the people we wanted to serve, just like we are doing here today in Macomb County. So, do that in Texas, do that in Michigan, do that across this country. Bring everybody in and we defeat Donald Trump and we also heal some of the historic divisions that we see so we can get after the ambitious agenda we have before us.” O'Rourke says.

Credit Lauren Janes
O'Rourke talking with a voter.

O'Rourke says he's running on connecting to voters, no matter their party. He says he hopes to make connections with Michigan voters through conversation.

"The hatred and the division that we see, we need to bring people in. I don't care who you voted for last time for President, who you pray to, who you love - none of that matters to me. We are Americans first, before we are anything else, and we are going to start to act that way," O'Rourke says.

O'Rourke says he believes in Medicare for all and debt-free higher education.

Diana Wheatley Hagemann was one of the ten people who sat with O'Rourke at the diner. She's a social worker for a high school in Michigan. She says she did not know much about O'Rourke before the event, saying, “there are too many of them [Democratic presidential candidates] to focus on just one of them.” Now, she says O'Rourke is in her top five favorite candidates.

Credit Lauren Janes
Diana Wheatley Hagemann

As someone who works in education, Hagemann says she likes O'Rourke’s proposal for two years of higher education for free. Hagemann hopes he would expand that idea to include people with other skills; “plumbers needs doctors and doctors need plumbers.”

O'Rourke says he wants to “listen to people and have a real conversation, and not just sharing my platform, or our policies, or my plan, but also listening to and learning from the people that I want to serve. I want them to be a part of this campaign; I want them to be a part of the solutions to the challenges that this country faces.”

O'Rourke is expected to participate in the next debate in September.

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