Roll Call New Member Profiles: 113th Congress
- Election: Defeated Barbara Carrasco, R, to succeed Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D, who was defeated in a primary
- Pronounced: BET-oh
- Residence: El Paso
- Born: Sept. 26, 1972; El Paso, Texas
- Religion: Roman Catholic
- Family: Wife, Amy Sanders O'Rourke; three children
- Education: Columbia U., B.A. 1995 (English)
- Career: Internet services company owner
- Political highlights: El Paso City Council, 2005-11
Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas
Whether touring in a rock band or working at Internet startups in New York City, O'Rourke always had El Paso in mind. He entered politics, he says, to turn around the city's stretch of poor economic performance.
O'Rourke wants to spur investment in one of the country's largest land ports, where long wait times create a chokepoint for the regional and national economy. The border, he says, is the key to his district's economic growth and job opportunities.
"My challenge is we need investment along the border if we're going to improve this situation," he says. "My argument to the congressman from Michigan or Illinois or Ohio or really anywhere that you have significant manufacturing or export activity is, Do it for the sake of your constituents or your local economy.' "
As the representative of the Army's second-largest military instillation, Fort Bliss, he hopes to land a spot on the Armed Services or Veterans' Affairs committees, where he hopes to help improve his city's VA system.
O'Rourke would be replacing his predecessor, Silvestre Reyes, on those committees. He defeated Reyes in a primary contest in which drug policy was a major issue. O'Rourke supports legalizing marijuana.
While in college, he toured the country with the band Foss, whose drummer, Cedric Bixler-Zavala, went on to found the Grammy-winning progressive rock band The Mars Volta.