Former representative and failed Senate candidate Robert Francis "Beto" O'Rourke said he would create a commission to investigate paying reparations for slavery as president during Tuesday's CNN Democratic debate.
O'Rourke was addressing how he would help the African-American community as president.
"I want to acknowledge something that we're all touching on which is the very foundation of this country, the wealth that we have built, the way we became the greatest country on the face of the planet was literally on the backs of those who were kidnapped and brought here by force," O'Rourke said to applause from the crowd. "The legacy of slavery and segregation and Jim Crow and suppression is alive and well in every aspect of the economy and in the country today."
O'Rourke referred to Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee's (D., Tx.) bill that would create a commission to investigate reparations for the African-American community.
"As president I will sign into law a new Voting Rights Act. I will focus on education, address health care disparities but I will also sign into law Sheila Jackson Lee's reparations bill so we can have the national conversation we waited too long in this country to have."
The commission would "make recommendations concerning any form of apology and compensation to begin the long delayed process of atonement for slavery."
O'Rourke recently disclosed that he and his wife Amy both have ancestors who owned slaves.