The “It’s Happening” campaign took a quick trip into the D.C. world as we headed into the newly-restored Historic Mills Building where Congressman Beto O’Rourke’s congressional office is located.
Beto, a born and raised El Pasoan, has been in love with downtown since he was a young boy, remembering it fondly. The Main Public Library set the stage for exploration as young Beto walked downtown El Paso with his dad. “I always wanted to be downtown because of the architecture and its closeness to Mexico,” he said about his decision to locate downtown for both his business, Stanton Street Technology Group and his congressional office.
Beto, represents the 16th Congressional District of Texas, a seat he sought out in order to maximize effectiveness given El Paso’s challenges. After serving two terms for El Paso’s city council, Beto has an intimate understanding of what the city needs and fights vigorously to develop its potential.
With an estimated 1 billion dollars in annual revenue coming from across the border and a good portion of that concentrated in the downtown retail district, Beto recognizes the need for better wait times at the border. This is among the congressman’s hot button issues for improving El Paso’s downtown, saying we must, “turn unpredictable hours into predictable minutes [on the border].”
Beto is excited about all the changes taking place in our downtown noting that there has been a good deal of investment, both from public and private sources. Seeing those risks pay off for those private investors and tax payers is something Beto feels would give everyone a reason to visit, work, live and generally enjoy our downtown.
Seeing more life on the street after 5pm in all of its abundant forms is something the congressman wants to see. This includes more bike and foot traffic with residents contributing to a bustling downtown 24/7. Beto expressed his love of the Bike Share idea as well as the trolley. With more people including the congressman attending downtown events it is no surprise we find even he enjoys weekends with his family in the Union Plaza Arts District for example, “I have been to the Farmer’s Market on Saturdays, my kids love the donuts and I love the arts and crafts.”
The congressman left us with these words of wisdom after we asked him if, “a good downtown makes a great city?”-to which he replied, “No. A GREAT downtown makes a great city.”