“Powered by People” — A Conversation with Former Texas Congressman, Beto O’Rourke

By: Julia Sheedy, KPU Content Manager

As a first-time voter back in 2018, I was eagerly anticipating going to the polls. But the fact that I was casting my first vote ever for Beto O’Rourke in his 2018 Senate campaign in an attempt to beat Ted Cruz to represent the state of Texas was something that I was ready to brag about forever. In the months prior to the election, O’Rourke spent his days traveling to all 254 counties in the state of Texas. He knocked on doors day in and day out, talking to his future constituents regarding issues they deeply cared about. His commitment to grassroots organizing just goes to demonstrate the type of person Mr. O’Rourke truly is.

KPU was honored to host O’Rourke virtually last week in a conversation with SPA Professor and Executive in Residence, Ron Elving. The conversation covered topics ranging from gun control to the Texas-Mexico border, the future of our democracy, and the possibility of O’Rourke’s 2022 candidacy for Governor of the state of Texas. Although O’Rourke famously held a good fight against incumbent Senator Ted Cruz (R) in the 2018 Senatorial election, his loss still came the closest to winning a Senate seat that a Democratic candidate has in the past 20 years. In the process, he gave me, and so many others, so much hope for turning Texas blue in the future. And every day since annoucing his candidacy for Senator, but especially in the past few months, O’Rourke has continuously proven his dedication and passion for the people of Texas, even despite his loss in 2018.

O’Rourke founded and leads the grassroots organization Powered by People, which helps get out the vote to eligible Texas voters across the state, completely funded, and powered, by people. PxP is committed to mobilizing voters and turning Texas blue from the ground up.

Mr. O’Rourke reminded AU students “We can be so hard on ourselves and compare ourselves to other people and feel like we’re lacking when everything we need is within us… There’s more to you and there’s more in you… then you have any idea”

When I was told that KPU would be inviting Beto O’Rourke to speak, my 18-year-old self cried a little inside, and so did the 20-year-old me that now has a “Beto for Governor 2022” homemade sticker on the back of my car. Hearing Mr. O’Rourke speaking last Tuesday night for the Kennedy Political Union reminded me why our organization’s mission is so important. As AU students, I think we all have that one example of who or what exactly ignited our passion for making a change in this country; and witnessing Mr. O’Rourke’s campaign and organizing has been mine.

For more information on how to get involved and support causes in Texas visit:

Powered By People helps get out the vote to eligible Texas voters across the state, completely funded, and powered, by people. PxP is committed to mobilizing voters and turning Texas blue from the ground up.

MOVE Texas is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, grassroots organization working to build power in underrepresented youth communities through civic engagement, leadership development, and issue advocacy.

Battleground Texas is a people-based, metrics-driven organization that is dedicated to the idea that volunteers, in their neighborhoods, can and do significantly impact local, state, and national elections. We’re turning Texas into a battleground state by treating it like one.

March for Our Lives Texas, advocating for sensible gun violence prevention policies and voter rights across the state of Texas.