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Sunday, April 28, 2013 - 11:43pm
EL PASO — Dozens of candidates running for office in the upcoming May elections participated in a forum Sunday afternoon hosted by EPiSO and Border Interfaith.
Six of the eight mayoral candidates were in attendance along with more than 600 El Pasoans wanting to hear the candidates' position on the issues.
"Obviously these issues mean something to these people or they wouldn't turn out," said John Nelsen, with Border Interfaith.
Candidates were given three questions about boosting economic development prior to the forum starting.
Organizers met with each candidate on a one-on-one basis to bounce ideas off of each other.
"We spent at least 45 minutes with them getting to know them and they got to know us," said EPiSO Co-chair Elosio De Avila.
Candidates for mayor each took their turn saying whether they would support investing $300,000 in Project Arriba, which helps develop El Paso's workforce.
Most all were in support but Oscar Leeser said he would like to see the city's budget first.
"I'm committed to helping the community but I'm not committed to making a commitment til I get in office check the budget's and understand what's going on," Leeser said.
The candidates then answered questions about building the city's infrastructure and continuing to implement quality of life projects.
"We'd have businesses and economic drivers coming here and saying we want to invest in that city and that's what I would like to see in El Paso," said Robert Cormell.
Robert Cormell said business, non-profits and government working together would help the city grow if they focused on serving El Paso's youth.
Hector Lopez agreed saying some of the focus should be on education.
"We need to investing in our civic organizations investing in our young men and women through education and making sure there's leadership at the city-wide level to be able to provide for that," Lopez said.
All the candidates spoke passionately about the issues and feel they would help the city.
"I in fact endorse and hold the principals that are the law and within in the law decisions have to be made," said Jorge Artalejo.
The only mayoral candidates not in attendance were Gus Haddad and Jaime O. Perez.