From the Texas AFL-CIO Daily Email:
U.S. Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke, member of Congress from El Paso, took questions from a contingent of the Texas AFL-CIO Executive Board on subjects important to working people in Texas.
Meeting informally in the Texas AFL-CIO Becky Moeller Auditorium, board members peppered O'Rourke with questions on trade, immigration, wages, training, public education, workplace rights and other subjects. Questioners represented teachers, communications workers, federal, state and local public employees, electricians, steelworkers and others from the building trades.
O'Rourke discussed his record in office and plans for the Senate. The meeting was uniformly frank and cordial. After spending nearly 90 minutes taking questions, O'Rourke stayed afterward until everyone who wanted to speak with him one-on-one had a chance to approach.
There is no dispute in the labor movement that the record of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, on worker issues is abysmal (a lifetime voting record of 12 percent pro-labor, according to the AFL-CIO). O'Rourke, who is seeking statewide office for the first time, has a lifetime 95 percent AFL-CIO voting record. O'Rourke was unable to accept an invitation to speak to the COPE convention and did not send a representative, which he later acknowledged was a mistake. Running for statewide office for the first time, O'Rourke had not met with many of the COPE delegates. The COPE decision not to endorse was a direct product of delegates' inability to ask questions they had. That decision drew substantial notice in the media and in social media, including some criticism.
To his credit, O'Rourke took joint responsibility for the "no endorsement" and said he would meet with union groups around the state. Today's meeting, along with others, demonstrates he is following through on that plan.
Toward the end of the meeting, O'Rourke requested the Texas AFL-CIO COPE endorsement, saying the support of the labor movement is essential to his campaign. As noted previously, the COPE statewide endorsement list is subject to change if the COPE Committee chooses to act. Any next step would be up to that committee.