Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke made a stop in San Francisco on Sunday for a town hall event.
KRON4’s Ken Wayne sat down with the candidate ahead of the event to talk about some of the biggest concerns for Californians, including climate change, housing crisis, and gun violence.
You can watch the whole interview on Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m. on Inside Bay Area Politics streaming on KRONon.
O’Rourke announced his first major policy initiative, a sweeping $5 trillion plan to combat climate change.
He says this is an issue that we need to take action on before it’s too late.
“Scientists have been very clear. The historic wildfires we saw last year in California are in large part a result of human activity. Of our emissions and our inaction in the face of the science. Those scientists say we will continue to warm at an alarming rate that will consume more property and more lives in California and Texas and throughout the world unless we change course,” O’Rourke said.
O’Rourke headed to the Central Valley to learn how farmers can use new technologies.
“If everyone does everything that they can, then maybe, we can help lead this world, convene the powers of the plants to make sure we stop this change before it’s too late for the generations that follow,” O’Rourke said.
The candidate also shared with Ken Wayne how he would tackle the state’s housing crisis.
Reports show the Bay Area has the third-highest homeless population in the country with more than 28,000 people. Part of the problem is low-income people are becoming homeless at a faster rate than communities can move existing homeless people into housing.
“The only way we’re going to meet a housing crisis, which in California means that we need two to three more living units, whether those are apartments or condos or single family homes…is to make sure that there’s federal investment and encouragement to the market,” O’Rourke said.
He expressed the need to invest in transit so families are able to live closer to where they work.
“That means getting behind Governor Newsom and his proposal to ensure that we can afford to fund the full length of a high-speed rail system from San Francisco to L.A. And I know we’re starting in the central valley now, but we’ve got to get that whole line done as soon as possible. and then we have to make sure we encourage inclusionary zoning,” O’Rourke said.
In talking about gun violence, O’Rourke spoke about the most recent violence incident — The shooting at the Chabad of Poway synagogue just outside of San Diego on Saturday.
“Yesterday’s [Saturday] tragedy at the Chabad of Poway synagogue, just outside San Diego, and the tragedies that we’ve seen before. Tree of Life six months ago in Pittsburgh, the shooting at Emmanuel AME in Charleston, South Carolina four years ago. The list goes on and on. And it will go forward unless we make changes in policy here,” O’Rourke said.
He says states that have adopted universal background checks have seen close to 50-percent of gun violence reduction.
“That saves lives. Let’s adopt it for the entire United States. And perhaps a more politically contentious and difficult thing to do, but important nonetheless….weapons designed, engineered and sold to the United States military for war. Because they’re really good at killing people in great numbers,” O’Rourke said.
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