AUSTIN (Nexstar) — On Wednesday, Texas Democrats who took part in the Texas House walkout that killed Senate Bill 7, a Republican-backed elections regulation bill, met with Vice President Kamala Harris to discuss fighting voter regulation bills at the federal level.
“We know we have a great challenge in front of us and therefore a fight,” Harris said. “Which is to fight for every American’s right, meaningful right, to vote.”
Gov. Greg Abbott, immediately following the walkout at the end of May, promised to call lawmakers back to the Capitol for a special session to, in part, focus on ‘election integrity.’
“Legislators will be expected to have worked out the details when they arrive at the Capitol for the special session,” Gov. Abbott said in a statement.
Former Congressman Beto O’Rourke, a Democrat from El Paso, said he’s grateful for the state lawmakers’ walkout, because it gives extra time to fight the voting regulations.
“Those Texas House Democrats are the heroes of this moment. You know, despite being in a political minority, they were able to band together and stick together and stop one of the most restrictive voter suppression bills in the country,” O’Rourke said.
“Now it’s time for the federal government to do their part. And that means passing the For the People Act, it’s actually passed the House of Representatives, the President has said he’ll sign it into law, we just need the Senate to give their consent,” O’Rourke explained.
The former congressman is touring across the state to drum up support, ending in Austin on Sunday, June 20, with a rally at the Capitol.
“This is our chance to continue to elevate their example. And I hope it compels the Senate and the federal government to act while we still have a chance to act with this time that they bought us by walking out during the end of the last legislative session,” O’Rourke said, encouraging Texans to join at the Capitol Sunday at 5:30 p.m.
When asked about a possible run for office in the near future, O’Rourke said for now, he’s just focused on protecting the right to vote.
“Afterwards, you know, I think it would be appropriate to think about how I can best serve Texas. And that could be as a candidate, it could be supporting other candidates, it might be focusing on voter registration, given the fact that there are 2 million unregistered eligible Texans who should be participating in the next election,” O’Rourke said.