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Texas Reacts To Beto O’Rourke’s Presidential Run, 43 Percent Of Houston-Area Children Have An Immigrant Parent, And Santa Fe High School Families Testify Against Parole Changes

These are some of the stories Houston Public Media is covering.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Top afternoon stories:

Beto O’Rourke.

Texas Reacts To Beto O'Rourke's Presidential Run

As Beto O'Rourke enters a crowded field of politicians vying for the Democratic ticket in 2020, here's how some Texans are reacting to his bid for the White House.

The reactions to O'Rourke's announcement have come from experts, politicians and voters.

Nancy Sims, a political analyst and lecturer at the University of Houston, said that he is a strong candidate because of the national exposure he gained last year. "There's some polling and he seems to cut across the top tier," Sims said on Houston Matters.

Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa said in a statement the party is "proud" to have O'Rourke trying to win the presidential nomination. He highlighted his achievement in 2018 when he came close to beating Cruz in a state that's supposed to be robustly Republican.

O'Rourke's announcement also drew reaction from Republicans. Senator Ted Cruz was one of the few members of the Texas congressional delegation that commented. He did it on Twitter saying his former opponent for the Senate seat has a “radical agenda.”

43 Percent Of Houston-Area Children Have An Immigrant Parent

More than 40 percent of Houston-area children have at least one immigrant parent — a larger share than in all other major Texas cities, according to new research by think-tank the Urban Institute.

Their report found 34 percent of Texas kids have at least one immigrant parent, compared to 31 percent in 2007.

Nearly a third of Texas children with an immigrant parent live below the federal poverty threshold.

Research also shows these children are more likely to be bilingual and grow up in low-income, two parent households than kids with parents who were born in the United States.

Urban Institute researcher Hamutal Bernstein said understanding this child population is important because it helps measure effects of policy changes.

Dimitrios Pagourtzis.

Santa Fe High School Families Testify Against Parole Eligibility Changes

Families of the victims of the Santa Fe school shooting testified in Austin on Wednesday against a bill that could speed up juvenile inmates' eligibility for parole.

Last May, Dimitrios Pagourtzis was charged for killing 10 people and injuring 13 others at Santa Fe High School. Under current Texas law, if Pagourtzis were convicted, he would be eligible for a sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole after 40 years because he was 17 at the time of the shooting.

But one Texas lawmaker is proposing a "Second Look" bill that would allow a panel to consider parole for juvenile inmates after 20 years.

Rosie Stone was one of the parents who testified. She lost her son Chris Stone in the Santa Fe shooting.

"I ask that mass shootings and public shootings be excluded from this," Stone said. "Unless you lose a student, your family member, you don't know what it's like on this side."

El Paso Democrat Joe Moody, the bill's author, said it wouldn't guarantee earlier parole for an inmate.

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