Beto O'Rourke campaigns in Bonham
BONHAM, Texas (KTEN) — Beto O'Rourke, the Texas Democrat seeking to unseat incumbent Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, hosted a town hall in Bonham on Wednesday.
O'Rourke spoke about better jobs, a world class education, and a doctor being available for all Texans.
He was greeted with warm applause from supporters and about a dozen protesters, including Fannin County Republican Chair Melanie Grammar.
"Fannin County is a conservative county; the Republicans are here," she said.
O'Rourke said he is focused on education.
"We have got to pay our teachers and educators more," he said. "In Fannin County, the average public school teacher is underpaid by $15,000 against her peers nationally."
A chunk of the school funding comes from local property taxes. O'Rourke pledges to increase teacher salaries without touching taxpayers' wallets.
"We've got to do a better job of having the state shoulder its fair share of responsibility so that we don't push it down to the local homeowner and property taxpayer," O'Rourke said.
Grammar said she wasn't satisfied with the Democrat's rhetoric.
"There are so many things being looked at; I don't think there is a simple answer to this to make everyone happy," she said.
But Fannin County Democratic Chair Brenda Davis was inspired by what she heard from O'Rourke.
"I liked it," she said. "I am an educator, a retired educator and I am all for getting rid of the STAAR test. I think it's completely unnecessary."
O'Rourke also discussed a major issue for Fannin County voters: The possible relocation of the Bonham VA hospital.
"We're talking about moving the one of the largest employers in Bonham and also a VA facility that helps those veterans who literally put their lives on the line for America," he said.
Davis, however wasn't entirely satisfied with the candidate's answer.
"He could have done more, and we will discuss that later," she said.