Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke campaigns at UVA

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke campaigned at the University of Virginia on Tuesday night. Hundreds of students packed into Nau Hall, eager to hear him speak.

O'Rourke is the first 2020 presidential candidate to visit Charlottesville.

He talked about his views on immigration, relying more on renewable energy sources, and criminal justice reform.

"If we're going to come together on immigration, or economy, or criminal justice," said O'Rourke, "if we're going to make sure we confront the challenge of climate before it is too late, we cannot do it by half measure with only half the country. This cannot be one person running for president or one political party, it's got to be all of us."

Students asked O'Rourke tough questions, such as what he thought was the difference between hate speech and free speech, especially after what happened in Charlottesville Aug. 12, 2017.

"Let's also use our free speech to confront hatred and describe our vision for this country, premised on our strengths of difference and diversity," said O'Rourke as part of his response. "That's what I plan on being able to do."

University Democrats Communications Chair Kathryn Williams said O'Rourke reached out to them, asking if he could speak. Williams said he is a promising candidate out of the many candidates throwing their hat into the ring.

"Beto is definitely one of the people we really have to look out for," said Williams. "He really entered the scene last year with his Senate race and I think it's going to be really interesting to see how he plays out as a candidate."

She said O'Rourke especially stands out for young voters.

"I think he stands out because he's the kind of person who appeals to everyone," said Willaims. "They can kind of relate to him and the actions he's doing. Especially with the social media action, he's been kind of showing us what his life is like and what his daily routine is. He's the kind of guy that people can relate to."

O'Rourke would not take questions from the press at the event.

The University Democrats hope that seeing O'Rourke come to Charlottesville will motivate other presidential candidates to stop by the university.



 
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