EL PASO, Texas - El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser touted his success during his final "State of the City" address.
The mayor began his address by thanking City employees for their work helping El Paso grow. "It is important that we recognize the 6,000 team members in the City and the great accomplishments they've done. They work very hard every day."
Leeser said he wanted to change the way El Paso did business. "We actually went to New York, San Antonio, San Francisco, Chicago, Houston, quite a few places, and they learned El Paso is the only city with 400 days a year of sunshine," Leeser said, "We ended up with 90 companies that expanded within our community."
"I think (Leeser) came into something he didn't know anything about. The first year, I think he was kind of lost, but I think he got the hang of it. He's been a good mayor," City Rep. Emma Acosta said. "Economic development has been very good. Jobs have been coming in."
Leeser said companies invested nearly a billion dollars in El Paso. "That is a billion dollars - that really - you can't even count how many times that money will circulate."
The mayor said 5,365 new jobs were created in El Paso during his tenure. "These are companies that really had an option. They could have gone anywhere. They could have expanded some place other than El Paso," Leeser said.
Leeser said El Paso's unemployment hit a record low of 4.1 percent in July 2016. "Last month, the new number came out and El Paso is still low at 4.6 percent," Leeser said.
Leeser also pointed out El Paso is at a record high for hotel occupancy rate in 2017: 71 percent.
"The thing I'm going to remember about Oscar, more than anything, is his incredibly large heart for the city," City Rep. Peter Svarzbein said. "He truly wanted to represent all citizens in this community."
"I would give him an A+ if I was a teacher. I think his heart was always in the right place," City Rep. Michiel Noe said. "I can't think of anybody that's worked this hard and had such great results from it."