HOUSTON — The nation’s largest labor union is meeting in Houston this weekend.

And nearly a dozen Democratic presidential candidates gave thousands of National Education Association members their best sales pitch on Friday.

Former Congressman Beto O’Rourke greeted the crowd, at first, in Spanish.

“So grateful to be with so many world class educators here today in Texas,” O’Rourke said.

Houston was chosen as this year’s host city for the NEA’s annual convention.

The labor union is made up of more than three million members.

The convention is centered at the GRB.

“I came here as a proud product of public schools of San Antonio,” said former HUD secretary Julian Castro.

Two native Texans joined eight other Democrats trying to unseat President Trump in addressing a variety of issues facing educators and support staff.

RELATED: Why are so many Democrats campaigning in Texas so early?

RELATED: 2020 candidates head to Houston for education forum

“We have to have you in the schools teaching, teaching, teaching,” former VP Joe Biden said.  “You shouldn’t be doing three jobs or two jobs.”

“We are, across the nation, heartbroken that your students have to be under this shadow of fear of coming to school,” Gov. Jay Inslee said.

“When I came out with an infrastructure plan, yes it’s about highway and bridges and trains and everything,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar said.  “But I made sure up front and center was funding our school infrastructure.”

These educators say building a better future no longer means taking their votes for granted.

And that’s no matter the political party.

“We’re not just one single cookie cutter type of, you know, member here,” said teacher Osa Tui of Hawaii.  “So they need to make sure they speak to all of us.”

Each candidate got only about 10 minutes to speak.

Others appearing at the forum were Bernie Sanders, Bill de Blasio, Tim Ryan, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren.

The NEA convention runs through Sunday.


WATCH | Is Texas becoming a battleground state for presidential candidates?