Childhood & Early Life
Beto O’Rourke was born Robert Francis O'Rourke on September 26, 1972 in El Paso, Texas. His parents, Pat Francis O'Rourke and Melissa Martha O'Rourke, nicknamed him ‘Beto’. The family resided in the Kern Place neighborhood.
Beto studied at the Rivera Elementary School and subsequently at Mesita Elementary School. He later moved to Woodberry Forest School, a boarding school in Madison County, Virginia. Before graduating from high school, Beto worked as a summer congress intern for Ron Coleman.
After graduating high school, he decided to study English Literature at Columbia University. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1995. He was an active rower during his days in Columbia and even co-captained the team’s heavyweight rowing crew.
O’Rourke was passionate about punk music and was part of the band ‘Foss’ during his days at Columbia University. The band toured across the country and Canada and also released a record ‘The El Paso Pussycats’, in 1993. He switched to another band Swedes, where he played the drums until 1995.
Beto’s early career was diverse. He first worked as a live-in nanny in Manhattan; later worked as an art mover at Hedley’s Humpers; then joined his uncle’s internet services startup; and finally worked as a proofreader at H. W. Wilson Company in New York.
In 1998, he returned to his hometown as he missed his family. He also wanted to change the state of unemployment for the youth and co-founded Stanton Street Technology, a software service company. During his tenure, he published Stanton Street and involved himself with civic institutions.
His interest in politics increased after he started working with the local authorities. He joined as a volunteer for the campaigners by local politicians such as Jose Rodriquez and Eliot Shapleigh. He was particularly inspired by Ray Caballero’s ideas. He decided to enter the public arena after Caballero wasn’t elected for the second time.
Beto’s motivation to contest came from his interest to improve and develop El Paso and end corruption. He initially decided to run for county judge but was persuaded to run for the City Council by his friends and mentors.
In 2005, O’Rourke championed himself to improve local development and border norms and ran for the El Paso City Council. He, and his friends Byrd and Ortega, contested for the office and they all won. Together, they were labeled the ‘progressives.’
In 2007, he was re-elected as the City Councilman. In his second term, he faced considerable criticism as he supported a developmental plan that involved uprooting an old neighborhood. Activists and local businessmen remained strongly opposed, and the plan fell through.
In 2009, O’Rourke became the talk of the town for his proposal of examining the war on drugs. His intentions to develop a better solution was supported unanimously by his colleagues. He also held several conferences to elaborate on his ideas.
In 2012, he decided to stand against Silvestre Reyes to represent Texas District 16. His on-ground campaign coupled with his progressive ideas was a hit with the public. He made it a point to hold a town hall every month and eventually won the election.
In 2013, Beto and Steve Pearce brought to force the Border Enforcement Accountability, Oversight, and Community Engagement Act. He also encouraged the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act. These programs put El Paso on the map.
O’Rourke was re-elected in 2014, after securing 67% of public votes. In this period, he was seen traveling to Israel along with other peace negotiators and politicians.
During the run up to the presidential elections in 2016, O’Rourke vocally endorsed Hillary Clinton for President. At the time, Beto was a sitting member of congress and acted as a superdelegate to the Democratic National Convention.
In 2015, Beto announced that he was going to contest for a third term. Subsequently, he won the Democratic primary in the general election.
In 2017, Beto O’Rourke gave up his congressional seat as he aimed to run for the 2018 Senate. His choice was questioned by several people, with the media highlighting the disadvantages faced by him as Texans hadn’t selected a Democrat for well over 24 years.
Beto formally announced his candidature for the United States Senate on March 31, 2017. He would fight the incumbent Republican Ted Cruz. He was announced the nominee for the Democratic Party in March 2018, after winning 61.8% of the public votes.
O’Rourke’s campaign took a positive tone without aiming to slander any opponents. It relied heavily on social media and Beto’s internet presence. Several of his videos went viral, and he began to draw in support from many corners. However, he lost the election by a tiny margin to Ted Cruz.
There are several rumors afloat that Beto might run for the President of the U.S. in the 2020 elections. His successful campaign during the Senate elections has made him among the leading candidates in the Democratic Party.
O’Rourke, on the other hand, has stated that he has no intention to run for the President in 2020. More recent conferences have indicated that he is unsure of his intentions as it’s too early.
Family & Personal Life
Beto O'Rourke has been married to Amy Hoover Sanders since September 24, 2005. The couple met each other on a blind date in 2003 and have been together since. The duo has three children: Ulysses O'Rourke, Molly O'Rourke, and Henry O'Rourke.
The family current lives in the Sunset Heights area of El Paso. Beto is a devout Catholic and is a member of the local Roman Catholic Church.
O’Rourke was arrested in Anthony, Texas on September 27, 1998 for drunken driving. The charges against him were removed in October 1999 after he completed a court-mandated program. This blight in his early life is often attacked by his opponents.