Beto and Will’s Great Adventure: Congressmen Hold Mobile Town Hall While Driving to D.C.

Lucy Westcott
Beto and Will’s Great Adventure: Congressmen Hold Mobile Town Hall While Driving to D.C.

Two U.S. congressmen from Texas are live-streaming parts of their 24-hour journey by car to Washington, D.C., after the big winter storm named Stella ruined their flight plans.

The representatives are conducting a mobile town hall while on the bipartisan road trip (Beto O’Rourke is a Democrat and Will Hurd is a Republican) in a rented Chevy Impala. The journey started in San Antonio and includes a stop in Memphis. It is streaming live on Facebook and Periscope, and the two are taking questions from the public. 

Related: Winter storm Stella is definitely not normal

Many contentious town halls have been held across the country this year, with protesters showing up and shouting matches taking place between lawmakers and their constituents, largely over the Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. During an interview with the San Antonio Express-News newspaper, conducted live in the car during their trip, O’Rourke said that “folks are scared to be held publically accountable and do those town halls.”

Hurd said the aim of the trip is to “disagree without being disagreeable.” Facebook users commented below the video that they liked the idea of a Democrat and a Republican working together, and they suggested talking about President Donald Trump’s taxes, Republican health care reform and the path to citizenship. One user was more concerned about safety, and suggested that both men get out of the car and walk around frequently. The pair discussed criminal justice reform and the war on drugs during their morning stretch of driving.

On Tuesday morning, Texas Senator John Cornyn briefly called in but was dropped due to a poor connection. O’Rourke said the trip was his idea, and at 5 a.m. on Tuesday morning he and Hurd picked up the Chevy Impala and set out on the road. “Our party leadership is probably not excited that we’re doing this,” said O’Rourke. Shortly after noon Eastern time on Tuesday, they were just outside of Waco, Texas, and looking for drive-through lunch suggestions. 

Hurd and O’Rourke took some musical breaks during the trip, playing “On the Road Again” by Willie Nelson and “Location,” a song by an El Paso-based artist named Khalid. (“It’s a little R&B, let’s turn it up,” said Hurd.) During those interludes, Hurd turned the camera to face the long stretch of road ahead.

“Willie Nelson can definitely unite all of us,” he said.

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