2020 Democratic White House hopeful and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke said Monday that it was a “right” for people to live close to their place of employment.
“Living close to work shouldn’t be a luxury for the rich. It’s a right for everyone,” O’Rourke wrote on Twitter accompanied with a video showing the candidate speaking at a campaign stop.
Living close to work shouldn't be a luxury for the rich. It's a right for everyone. pic.twitter.com/lohRdoFGrH
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) September 10, 2019
In the video, O’Rourke made the case for federal spending on mixed-income housing and better public transportation to enable people to live closer to work and reduce their carbon footprint.
“Here’s a tough thing to talk about, though we must,” O’Rourke said. “Rich people are going to have to allow, or be forced to allow, lower-income people to live near them. … We force lower-income, working Americans to drive one, two, three hours in either direction to get to their jobs, very often minimum wage jobs.”
Living wherever one wants, however, is not a right protected in the Constitution. Similar to health care, living close to one’s work is a convenience and sometimes a need, but it is not a “right” that warrants government infringing on the rights of others to secure it.
While touting his plans to spend federal dollars on integrating socioeconomic classes, O’Rourke once endorsed plans to do the exact opposite, pushing poor people out of their homes in El Paso further away from the wealthy.
As an El Paso City Council member in 2006, O’Rourke voted to advance a real estate deal to redevelop downtown El Paso, which caused residents of a historic Mexican American neighborhood he represented to worry they would lose their homes through eminent domain. O’Rourke was also married to the investor’s daughter, who was pushing for the deal.
O’Rourke is slated to appear on the Houston debate stage Thursday night alongside nine other candidates vying for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. O’Rourke, who has been struggling in the polls to keep up with the other candidates, has jump-started his campaign several times throughout the summer but has yet to surface as a top-five contender.
RealClearPolitics’ latest aggregate of polls shows O’Rourke with an average of 2.3 percent support going into Thursday night’s debate, moderated by ABC.