EL PASO, Texas - The Southwest Minority Supplier Development Council held a forum for El Paso the eight mayoral candidates.
The focus of this event was to have candidates speak and provide their intake on supporting small and minority owned businesses in El Paso.
Candidates were asked about the importance of supporting Minority Business Enterprises in the city of El Paso and whether there should there be a city ordinance that includes minority business in the procurement processes of the city of El Paso.
Dee Margo is one of five candidates who attended the forum.
"My understanding is that has been studied already. And that the analysis was when they studied it was that the majority of the contractors were already minority. So I think it should be studied and looked at , I'm not ready to say one way or another," Mardo said.
Candidate Elisa Morales contemplated whether the ordinance would do more harm than good.
"I think we can do this on a practice, a procedure and practice level rather than doing an ordinance. I'm concerned that the long term implications of this could be that we could hinder entrance again by other companies," Morales said
City Representative Emma Acosta talked about how long it can take to award a bid for a project and the need for an overhaul of the process.
"We need to speed up the process. And I think we can do that. Rather than doing an ordinance, I think we need to look at the processes that we have, get input from the community and maybe make those changes. And I think that will make a big difference to our community right now," Acosta said.
Candidate Jorge Artalejo took the opportunity to share his thoughts n putting labels on people.
"It's a stereotype to think that because you are an individual who lives in this part of the city, your expectations should not exceed expectations that are ordinarily attached to your area of your domain," Artalejo said.
President Donald Trump's future plans for the border were not a topic for discussion, but candidate Jamie Perez said the city's new mayor will have to be prepared for possible changes ahead.
"I think we are going to have to be a great deal more creative under the new climate for business on border. In light of the threat of tariffs on Mexican imports, the possible disappearance of the maquillas, if we renegotiate NAFTA, the way president Trump is suggesting," Artalejo said.
Other candidates for El Paso mayor include David Saucedo, Charles Stapler and Willie Cager.
Early voting will begin Monday, April 24 through Tuesday, May 2. Election day will be Saturday, May 6.