News Roundup: Beto O’Rourke Starts Presidential Campaign With Three-Day Tour Of Iowa

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelMarch 18, 2019 1:12 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke’s presidential campaign began in Iowa over the weekend. The El Paso Democrat announced on Thursday, and spent the next three days travelling the state to introduce himself to Iowa voters. Ashley Lopez with KUT News hit the campaign trail.

Because Iowa will be the first state to vote in next year’s presidential nominating contests, O’Rourke began his campaign with stops all around the state. Voters in Iowa often get a lot of attention from presidential candidates. O’Rourke says that’s why he plans to visit the state a lot more before they officially caucus next year.

“Iowans take our democracy very seriously, their role in the nomination process very seriously. So many of them have told me they have not made up their mind and they are not planning to anytime soon. And they have told me that they expect to see me back in their communities,” [O’Rourke said.]

Fourteen candidates announced they were running for the presidential nomination before O’Rourke. Most have been stumping in Iowa for the past few months. After his last stop in Dubuque, Iowa on Saturday, O’Rourke crossed the state line and drove north to hold campaign events in Wisconsin.

Local officials today lifted a shelter-in-place order for a small city near Houston. The directive was first issued in Deer Park Sunday after a fire broke out at a chemical plant.

Alice Richardson is a spokesperson for Intercontinental Terminals Company, which runs the facility. She spoke with reporters Sunday.

“The chemical being burnt is naphtha, which is a component of gasoline. Air monitoring is being done by authorities and ITC,” Richardson said, which was originally reported by CBS affiliate KHOU.

Deer Park officials say they’ve received confirmation that air quality readings conducted so far have not “exceeded action levels.”

Harris County Public Health said in a statement that exposure to chemicals, as a result of the fire, may cause negative health effects.

Some of the most common symptoms include coughing, difficulty breathing, and irritation.

All Deer Park Independent School District campuses are closed.

Olympic gold medalist and reigning world-champion gymnast Simone Biles made her 2019 debut this weekend and continued to dominate.

The Texan, who just turned 22 last week, earned an all-around score of 58.8 at the International Gymnastics Federation World Cup in Germany. That score put her nearly four points ahead of the second-place finisher.

Biles had the highest score on three of four events, including the vault.

“The queen of gymnastics, Simone Biles – she had a 14.533 when she won the World Championships in Doha last year. She’s got an extraordinary round of applause here from the Stuttgart crowd. Let’s see her nail this one,” an NBC Sports announcer said during the competition’s broadcast.

The 2019 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships will also be held in Germany in October.