Beto O’Rourke to meet with education, health officials to kick off South Texas campaign swing


Beto O’Rourke listens to a volunteer before a Texas Organizing Project neighborhood walk in West Dallas on June 9, 2021. O’Rourke is running for governor of Texas. The former El Paso congressman announced his decision Monday. It kicks off O’Rourke’s third run for office in as many election cycles after a narrow loss for U.S. Senate in 2018 and a short-lived presidential run in 2020. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — Texas Democratic gubernatorial hopeful and former Congressman Beto O’Rourke is touring the South Texas border Wednesday in his first visit to the region since he announced on Monday his bid to take on Gov. Greg Abbott.

O’Rourke is meeting with Edinburg Independent School District officials at 2 p.m. to discuss education issues on the Texas-Mexico border. This is a closed event with limited media.

Afterward, he is scheduled to meet at a private residence in Mission, Texas, with Hidalgo County Health Authority Dr. Ivan Melendez, a physician whose border county was among the hardest hit by the coronavirus in the summer of 2020.

Hidalgo County Health Authority Dr. Ivan Melendez is seen on June 29, 2020, in Edinburg, Texas. (Sandra Sanchez/Border Report File Photo)

Melendez told Border Report that O’Rourke requested to meet to discuss the county’s COVID-19 response and how emergency officials handled the surge of cases and deaths north of the border as Mexico was struggling to contain cases south of the border.

“Their reason to meet is that our COVID-19 team is recognized among the state as being an example of how to respond to COVID in a positive way,” Melendez said. “They want input on how we did it and how it worked. What didn’t work and recommendations for the future.”

Hidalgo County has had 118,644 coronavirus cases and 3,484 deaths including one death on Wednesday, the county reported. Sixty-one people were hospitalized for COVID-19 on Wednesday in the county, which is down from the thousands who were hospitalized, most in intensive care, during the summer of 2020.

O’Rourke is from El Paso and served as congressman for Texas’ 16th Congressional District from 2013-19. He ran a close race for U.S. Senate against incumbent Republican Ted Cruz in 2018, and in 2020 was a presidential contender.

He also plans a meet and greet event on Wednesday evening in McAllen with community leaders and residents.

Border Report plans to attend the afternoon events and will update this story.

Sandra Sanchez can be reached at

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