The El Paso Chamber has completed another successful El Paso Days visit in Austin. We took a record number of members and joined forces with our state delegation, led by state Sen. José Rodríguez, representatives Lina Ortega, César Blanco, Art Fierro and Speaker Pro Tem Joe Moody, to discuss a number of legislative issues important to El Paso during the 86th legislative session.
This was my first advocacy visit during El Paso Days, and to say I was impressed is an understatement. I got to witness the efficiency and professionalism of our state delegation, the focus and drive of our municipal officials, including El Paso Mayor Dee Margo and County Judge Ricardo Samaniego, and the interest and passion of our chamber members.
We branded this El Paso Days as a celebration of the rising star of the state, and I am convinced that is the best way to describe our efforts during the trip and our status as a community. I believe the chamber is the premier hub of connecting, coaching, advocating and innovating in the community, and a trip like this gave us a chance to hone each of those areas.
El Paso works best when we are unified and advocate across common goals that make our community better for all.
This trip to Austin was centered on 31 meetings with individuals like the governor, the speaker of the house and the lieutenant governor, as well as elected officials from around Texas, state agencies and other groups.
The chamber’s policy team has developed a list of priorities that we are addressing this legislative session. While we have approached this list with laser-like focus, we also recognize that two issues have become priorities for the El Paso delegation and for us as well – the planned dental school at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso and the Reimagine I-10 project, especially the Downtown segment.
On both projects, the leadership of the delegation, especially Moody and Rodríguez, has been very efficient building coalitions and support across the House and Senate. El Paso has a chance to lock down projects that will have a long-term positive impact on the community and on the state.
I have been especially impressed with the delegation’s perspective that these projects are not only economically significant for El Paso, but by virtue of being models, have a tremendous impact on the state. Based on Gov. Greg Abbott’s recent comments in the State of the State address, the governor and his leadership team have their eyes on El Paso like never before.
Over the course of the trip, I had a chance to visit with the chamber members who traveled with us. They all support these efforts, and I believe reflect a community ready to back both projects and prepare El Paso for the future.
I am incredibly proud of our city’s leaders and advocates and promise the chamber’s support for all of these important and timely efforts.