Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke spoke to San Diegans at a town hall event in City Heights Tuesday.
Some of the hundreds of San Diegans who gathered at the Jacobs Center on the edge of Lincoln Park to see the former congressman from Texas told NBC 7’s Alex Presha they were focused on O'Rourke’s immigration and environmental policies.
O'Rourke unveiled a $5 trillion plan Monday, outlining measures to bring the U.S. to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. It marked the first major policy proposal of his campaign.
“As you know, the first caucuses are almost 10 months away. The first votes and the first primaries just a little bit further down the path, so lots of time for us to show up everywhere -- listen to and learn from the people I want to serve,” O'Rourke told NBC 7 in an exclusive interview after the town hall.
Another topic O'Rourke must face on the road to the presidency is the group of black, Democratic women who would typically go toward “establishment candidates” like former Vice President Joe Biden, according to Reverend Shane Harris.
Harris spoke with O'Rourke before the town hall Tuesday.
“One of the things that we talked about back stage was that he's fighting for the Democratic nomination, and a large sum of that is black women who are a part of the Democratic Party,” Harris told NBC 7. He did say this is something his campaign is going to have to work very hard on.”
O'Rourke recognized an upcoming crucial vote for a first-in-the-nation measure restricting when police can use deadly force in California.
The candidate said he would be returning home after a week on the road including stops in Bay Area, Los Angeles and Yosemite National Park as he visits California for the first time since he announced his run for president.
With a road trip from Yosemite to Modesto this year, O'Rourke is the first Democratic contender for the Oval Office to travel to the Central Valley this year.
The El Paso, Texas resident criticized policies using walls, children in cages and sending thousands of people to the border.
"We have a lot in common in our two communities," he said. "Both border communities that understand we don't just have to tolerate one another or respect our difference but we embrace them and it makes us stronger."
"San Diego and El Paso, Texas we are both safer than the average American city," he said.
Tune in to NBC 7 Politically Speaking on May 5 at 9 a.m. for the full exclusive interview with O'Rourke.