FORMER REP. BETO O’Rourke on Monday announced that if elected, he’ll sign an executive order on his first day in office requiring all Cabinet secretaries to hold monthly town hall-style meetings.
At one of the largest presidential candidate summits of the 2020 cycle, the Texas Democrat said that he wants his potential Cabinet to reflect “the diversity, ingenuity and genius” of the country.
O’Rourke is one of eight presidential candidates who spoke at the “We The People” summit hosted by a number of progressive groups at a downtown Washington, D.C. theater. Democratic candidates fielded questions from a rowdy audience of more than 1,000 activists and union members.
“Those Cabinet secretaries will be before you. Not a handpicked audience, not for theater,” O’Rourke said to big applause. “A real live town hall audience.”
He added, “Democracy is what we need if this country is going to make it.”
O’Rourke also used the summit to discuss the Electoral College, which he said he supports abolishing. He called the process “one of those bad compromises we made at day one in this country.”
“If we got rid of the Electoral College, we get a little bit closer to one person, one vote in the United States,” he said.
O’Rourke had previously signaled an openness to eliminating the process, but remained noncommittal. Last month, he told an MSNBC reporter he thought there was “a lot of wisdom” in abolishing it.
There’s a growing interest among 2020 presidential candidates in ending the Electoral College and moving to a system that would rely on the national popular vote. Critics of the current system cite Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote by 3 million votes in 2016, but ultimately losing the presidency to Donald Trump.
Debate over the Electoral College is also gaining some traction in Congress. Several Democratic senators will introduce a constitutional amendment later this week that seeks to eliminate the Electoral College.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, who also attended the summit, joined O’Rourke in supporting the abolishment of the Electoral College.
Other Democratic candidates who back eliminating the Electoral College include Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Warren will be speaking later in the afternoon at the “We The People” summit.