Congressmember Salud Carbajal | Credit: Paul Wellman

Congressmember Salud Carbajal announced he is endorsing his former roommate and former Texas congressmember Beto O’Rourke, now running to secure the Democratic presidential nomination out of a crowded field of 24. 

As a roommate, Carbajal said O’Rourke cooked a mean flank steak. More than that, he added, he got “to know him and his family, saw his character and values firsthand, and saw his effectiveness as a legislator as fellow member of the House Armed Services Committee.” As a three-term congressmember and a onetime punk rocker, O’Rourke challenged Republican Senator Ted Cruz — then widely regarded as unbeatable — and came close to doing just that two years ago.

O’Rourke will be taking to the presidential debate stage this week after having just introduced a proposal to impose a war tax on the households of all non-veterans to help raise the funds needed to care for the veterans of future wars. Families making $200,000 or more would pay $1,000 a year; those making less than $30,000 would pay $25. Carbajal said he was not familiar with the details of that proposal, but said he supported a “national service act” that would “encourage every young American to serve two years in the U.S. military or other public service.” 

Carbajal noted the Democrats “are lucky to have many good candidates running.” His longtime spokesperson Tess Whittlesey just stepped down to take a position with the presidential campaign being waged by Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana. Also working on the campaign is Chris Meagher, former spokesperson for Carbajal’s predecessor and political benefactor Lois Capps. (Before that, Meagher worked as reporter for the Independent.)

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story’s subtitle incorrectly stated that former Texas congressmember Beto O’Rourke was mayor of South Bend. We also corrected the spelling of Pete Buttigieg and that O’Rourke was a three-term, not six-term, congressmember.


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