‘Take the time to learn:’ Beto O’Rourke visits Milwaukee, Madison while debating presidential run

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MILWAUKEE -- Former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke made a visit in Milwaukee today, criticizing the president's national emergency declaration. The stop was part of his cross-country listening tour, meeting with students and different communities in an effort to help decide whether or not to run for president.

Beto O'Rourke in Milwaukee

"To find out how they're going to make America a better place," said O'Rourke. "And take my inspiration, direction and guidance from them."

From reducing gun violence to fighting the opioid epidemic, students at MATC met with O'Rourke on Friday, Feb. 15 to offer their thoughts on a number of issues concerning them.

Beto O'Rourke in Milwaukee

"A lot of people feel like senators or representatives, they're kind of cynical about the government," said MATC student Ramon Perez. "But when people come and actually see you, it's more human."

O'Rourke is one of many Democrats considering a run for the White House next year. Wisconsin is already being viewed as a key player in the upcoming election cycle.

"Not enough people come and visit communities like Milwaukee, take the time to learn what's going on here," said O'Rourke.

The El Paso, TX native also referred to his hometown throughout the town hall, condemning the president's national emergency declaration to build a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Beto O'Rourke in Milwaukee

"In fact, we were slightly less safe after the wall was built in the El Paso sector in the U.S.-Mexico border," said O' Rourke.

Instead, he says the government should invest in personnel, technology and infrastructure to keep its borders secure.

Beto O'Rourke in Milwaukee

"This is bypassing the constitution, bypassing a coequal branch of government, and sets up a terrible precedent for our democracy," said O'Rourke. "I hope this is successfully challenged in the courts and that we resolve this the way that this country was intended to."

O'Rourke said he was also excited for Milwaukee being considered host for the DNC, but wouldn't go so far as to say he prefers it over Houston -- of course, in his home state of Texas.

O'Rourke is also meeting with students at UW-Madison this evening. He says he will make a decision about running for president by the end of this month.

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