On Feb. 7, the public had the chance to attend “A Conversation with Dee Margo, Mayor of El Paso” a discussion hosted by The Texas Tribune at the Administrative Services Center.
(L) Bryan Mena and Texas Tribune co-founder and CEO, Evan Smith at the “A Conversation with Dee Margo" discussion.
Margo discussed several issues relevant to both El Paso and the state of Texas with Evan Smith, CEO and co-founder of The Texas Tribune.
The discussion was an hour long and towards the end the audience had the opportunity to ask the mayor questions.
Margo touched on topics such as his vision for the city, his view on the Republican party in Texas and his experience as a state legislator.
One recurrent topic however, was the expansion of El Paso.Margo talked about El Paso’s bid to host the second headquarters of Amazon.com Inc.
“The average age of our workforce is 31. That was one reason why we went after Amazon. We have the attributes that an Amazon would want.
Now we knew we were a longshot, but we were positioning ourselves for the future,” Margo said.
Reportedly, a shortlist for the cities still in the running to host the second headquarters did not include El Paso.
Smith also brought to light the issue of El Paso not being included in national and state-wide conversations despite being a large border town.
Margo and Smith both acknowledged that the city is still relatively unknown to most parts of the state.
“I think that’s a real dilemma for us as a community but all I can do is deal with what I can do in going forward,” Margo said.
“First of all we are explaining to people who we are and the resources we have here.
”Margo highlighted that the borderland area compromised of El Paso, Southern New Mexico and Northern Mexico has a population of about 2.7 million and it is one of the nation’s largest manufacturing hubs.
Another issue Margo discussed was education.
A question from the audience inquired on how he would tackle issues if he was on the EPISD school board.
Margo went on to say that he believes on merit-based pay for teachers. Margo also explained his view on charter schools and public schools.
“My position has always been that I am in favor with competition. However, my priority is with the public ones.
That’s where the dollars go. If that competition makes us more efficient and gives better outcomes on the public side then that’s good.”