(Bloomberg) — Beto O’Rourke, the Democrat running for Texas governor, said his plan for a guest-worker program would help slow inflation and alleviate a worker shortage that plagues agriculture and other US industries.
“A Texas-based guest-worker program allows us to meet our economic opportunity, the needs that we have in our economy — supply chain problems, inflation issues,” O’Rourke said at the Texas Tribune Festival in Austin on Saturday. “Texas, the defining border and immigrant state, could lead the way for our country.”
O’Rourke has said creating a way for non-citizens to obtain temporary work permits would provide workers for the farm, energy and manufacturing sectors as they struggle to hire amid a US unemployment rate of just 3.7%. That in turn should help with supply-chain issues and alleviate inflation that hit a four-decade high earlier this year, he said.
O’Rourke, a former congressman from El Paso, trails the incumbent Greg Abbott by five to nine percentage points in most recent polls, with surveys showing voters trusting the Republican more when it comes to the issue of immigration. No Democrat has won statewide office in Texas in almost 30 years, though O’Rourke said Saturday that he expects to emerge victorious on Nov. 8.
“The only poll that matters is the one we take on election day,” he said at the event.