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Runoff Edition

Borderlands Voting Guide 2020: The El Paso Mayoral Election

by Hope Border Institute & Most Rev. Mark J. Seitz, Bishop of El Paso

Neither the Hope Border Institute, nor the Diocese of El Paso, endorse or oppose any candidates for public office. This guide is designed for educational purposes only.

 

We're not done with election season and our electoral responsibilities just yet, El Paso.

We know that an unprecedented number of you cast your ballot in October and early November. Now we've got to finish the job by participating in the mayoral and city council runoff elections. This is a huge decision for our borderland community as we collectively determine what kind of leader we want in these important seats. El Paso has a history of incredibly low voter turnout for runoff elections, but we all know that 2020 is different. We must do our part as faithful citizens to cast our ballot in this upcoming runoff election. Read more to get all the details about this final step in the electoral process.

 

Dear Voters in the Borderlands,

 

As the Diocese of El Paso and the Hope Border Institute, we are very pleased to publish this first of its kind Borderlands Voting Guide 2020: the El Paso Mayoral Election.

 

Elections are a very important way of building a society in which each one of us, and all of us together, can thrive. This is what we call the common good.

 

Working for justice transforms us and it transforms the world. As Pope Francis says, all people of faith are called to make this world a little less cold and a little more just, and getting involved in public life through our vote is an important way of doing that. 

 

Let us work together this November and into the future to make justice flourish here in the borderlands.

Most Rev. Mark J. Seitz

Bishop of El Paso

Dylan Corbett

Executive Director

Hope Border Institute

WHAT’S A RUNOFF ELECTION?

If no general election candidate wins over 50% of votes, then the top two vote-getters move on to a runoff election. Whomever wins the majority of votes in the runoff election is declared the winner.

WHERE DO I VOTE?

Runoff Election Day will be Saturday, December 12, 2020 from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Early Voting period will be from Wednesday, November 25, 2020, through Tuesday, December 8, 2020.

 

PLAN YOUR TRIP TO THE POLLS

Plan Your Trip to the Polls

  • Will you vote early from Nov. 25 - Dec. 8 or on Runoff Election Day - Dec. 12?

  • Where will you vote?

  • How will you get to the polls?

  • Set aside some time to review this guide and educate yourself about the candidates and the issues

  • Encourage your family, friends and neighbors to vote safely

  • Set a calendar reminder on your phone so you don’t forget

What if I Run Into Problems When I Try to Vote?

Voters experiencing any sort of problem at the polls can call the Texas Election Protection Coalition hotline. Call 866-OUR-VOTE — English or 888-Ve-Y-Vota — Spanish and English.

How Can I Vote Safely During a Pandemic?

  • Plan your trip to the polls well ahead of time

  • Vote by mail if you already completed the application

  • Vote early to avoid crowds on Runoff Election Day

  • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth

  • Use hand sanitizer before and after your visit

  • Avoid touching your face and eyes

  • Keep a safe distance between yourself, election workers and the public

  • Use the disposable stylus at the polls to cast your ballot

IMPORTANT QUESTIONS FOR FAITHFUL CITIZENSHIP

 
 

How do people of faith decide which candidate to vote for?

Voting requires a well-formed conscience. How do we do that? 

 

We should always try to be attentive to the needs, the suffering and the possibilities in our community and in our world. We need to inform ourselves by reading the news with a critical eye and listening to others, including those who may not think like we do. And we need to listen to the voice of God who speaks to us in prayer, in the Scriptures, in our experience of walking with the poor, and in the teaching of the Church. 

 

The bishops of the United States publish a document, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, that covers many of the issues that should concern us as people of faith and it is well worth a good reading. 

 

We also have to study the positions of the candidates, make sure we’re registered to vote, and research just what will be on the ballot. And we can’t forget to take into account the character and competence of candidates.

What are some of the issues that should concern people of faith during this election?

Pope Francis has asked us to think about the ways all of us have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As Pope Francis says in Fratelli Tutti, ‘some parts of our human family, it appears, can be readily sacrificed for the sake of others considered worthy of a carefree existence. Ultimately, persons are no longer seen as a paramount value to be cared for and respected, especially when they are poor and disabled, "not yet useful" – like the unborn, or "no longer needed" – like the elderly.

 

The pandemic has affected us all, but especially the poor, Latinos and African Americans. Why were some of us more vulnerable to the impacts of the disease, economically and physically? 

 

It seems we’ve built up a society where many have been locked out of the benefits of our nation’s economic, social and political life and haven’t been able to share equally in our nation’s blessings. We have to be honest and admit that racial prejudice has also contributed to that. Not every family in our community or in our country has equal access to a good job, to good health care, to good housing, to good education and to good opportunities. Not everyone can look at a police officer without feeling fear.

 

The pope has said that this is really a time when God is calling our world to greater solidarity, which is another virtue that Christians bring to public life. As he puts it, ‘none of us is saved alone’. We have to re-discover that my flourishing and your flourishing are interconnected. As Saint Paul says, if one of us suffers, we all suffer. And we need political leaders who will empower our communities to rebuild with that sense of interdependence.

 

Something else the Holy Father has asked to consider is our relationship to God’s creation. He’s asking us to recognize that our exploitation of the earth and our exploitation of the poor are really related. We need to overcome the attitudes of harshness, competition, exclusion and lack of appreciation for the wonder of life that are at the root of so many of the challenges before us. We’re reaching a tipping point and we need to transcend the usual left-right, short-term political thinking in order to bring us back from the brink. It may be that this COVID-19 crisis is the opportunity to do just that. 

Is it true that a Catholic must support one candidate over the others?

Society should defend and promote human life at all stages. Our pro-life commitment extends to to every human person and we should ensure that the poor, the vulnerable, migrants and the environment are at the center of our public policy concerns.

 

Our witness to life and our defense of the unborn reflect one of the Church’s most ancient teachings. We must work for a world where abortion is truly unthinkable. And we also have to support policies, like access to healthcare and support for families, that make abortion never appear to be the only choice.

 

The Chuch teaches that Catholics cannot vote for a candidate because he or she supports the taking of human life in legalized abortion, as does the Democratic candidate. Nor can a Catholic vote for a candidate in order to close the door to refugees or to support the death penalty, which are things the Republican candidate supports. But given the circumstances and after sincere discernment, we may find ourselves voting for one or another candidate in spite of those things (or even neither candidate in a particular race). And so Catholics may arrive at different answers regarding whom to vote for. 

 

But however we vote, God will judge us by the authenticity of our commitment to continuing to stand with all those forced to the margins of our society, even after Election Day.

Prayer of Discernment

 

Invoke the presence of God. Recall in gratitude the gifts given to you by God and how divine love sustains our borderland community and our world. Consider what gives you feelings of gratitude, joy and excitement.

 

Call on the Spirit. Consider the needs of those in our community, our country and world who are most vulnerable, whether to racism, poverty or other types of exclusion. How is God present in their struggle? How is the Spirit calling upon you to respond? Take time to notice your feelings, anxieties, fears and hopes. Converse with God about all of this honestly and recognize the way the Spirit is leading you to consider what you might be called to do. 


Trust. Call on God to direct your intentions and desires towards building up the common good and a society where each of us, and all of us together, can flourish and live up to our calling as children of God. Consider how you will respond anew to God’s invitation to participate in building up the Reign of God, including through your vote.

 
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RUNOFF ELECTION 2020: MAYOR OF EL PASO

ELECTION 2020: MAYOR OF
EL PASO

This December, El Paso gets to elect a mayor!

The current incumbent, Mayor Dee Margo, initially ran alongside six challengers and will now face former El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser in the runoff.

 

The El Paso mayoral race is non-partisan. Although individual candidates may belong to a political party, they do not identify party affiliation on the ballot.

 

Whoever is elected mayor will serve a four-year term.

Some things you should know about the Mayor of El Paso:

  • The Mayor is the ceremonial head of the City of El Paso

  • The Mayor represents El Paso within the city government and to other levels of government

  • The Mayor is a member of and presides over the City Council and has the power to propose legislation, veto legislation (except for any City Council action to remove the City Manager), break tie votes and convene special sessions of City Council 

  • The Mayor appoints members of citizen advisory boards and commissions, with the consent of the City Council

 
 

WHO'S RUNNING FOR MAYOR?

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Hon. Oscar Leeser (5)

www.oscarleeser.com

Oscar Leeser declined to answer our candidate questionnaire. 

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Hon. Dee Margo (6)

www.margoformayor.org

 

Current Occupation: Current Mayor of El Paso

 

Education: BA in History and Economics from Vanderbilt University

 

Experience in Public Life: Mayor Margo currently serves as Vice Chair for Border Security on the US Conference of Mayors (USCM) Criminal and Social Justice Committee, as well as Co-Chair of USCM’s COVID-19 Response and Health Equity Working Group. Mayor Margo was recently appointed by the Governor to serve on the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas Oversight Committee. He is also a member of the Texas Municipal League Executive Committee.

 

Mr. Margo was previously a Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives, representing Texas District 78 from 2011 to 2013. He has served as the president of the El Paso Independent School District (EPISD) Board of Managers. Mayor Margo also served as Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army. 

 

Mayor Margo is a previous chair of the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce. He was a founding member of the organization now known as the Borderplex Alliance.

 

WHERE DO THE MAYORAL CANDIDATES STAND?

We asked each of the candidates the following long and short-form questions. These are their answers.

Q.1 

Emerging from the Crisis Better

The pandemic has affected everyone in the borderlands but has hit the poor, working class families, immigrants and people of color hardest. As mayor, what specific policies will you pursue to prioritize an equitable recovery for the most vulnerable and ensure that we emerge from the current crisis stronger? 

 Hon. Oscar Leeser (5)

for Mayor of El Paso 

Oscar Leeser declined to answer our candidate questionnaire.

 

Hon. Dee Margo (6)

for Mayor of El Paso

Rebuilding our economy is a priority for emerging from the Pandemic. This includes ensuring our most vulnerable have access to the necessary resources. 

Q.2 

Racial Solidarity

Last year, our community suffered a racially motivated terrorist attack and our nation continues to wrestle with ensuring dignity and equality for all people of color, including in the areas of policing and criminal justice. As mayor, what specific actions will you take to address systemic racism in the borderlands?

Hon. Oscar Leeser (5)

for Mayor of El Paso

Oscar Leeser declined to answer our candidate questionnaire.

Hon. Dee Margo (6)

for Mayor of El Paso

As long as I am Mayor, racism will never be tolerated. The EP Strong Resolution will establish new reporting to encourage elimination of racial disparities in arrests and other law enforcement actions.

Q.3

Addressing the Challenge of Climate Change

This past summer was one of the hottest in the history of the borderlands. As mayor, what will your plan be for a city response to addressing climate change? How will you leverage the city’s leadership role in moving our community away from fossil fuels and practices like fracking towards sustainable practices that protect the environment?

Hon. Oscar Leeser (5)

for Mayor of El Paso

Oscar Leeser declined to answer our candidate questionnaire.

Hon. Dee Margo (6)

for Mayor of El Paso

It is a priority of the City to seek legislation for solar energy incentives from the State Legislature. Current State incentives for alternative energy use apply primarily to wind energy.

Q.4

Integral Economic Development

Sometimes we hear that the necessary cost of economic development in El Paso is the displacement of more vulnerable communities, gentrification and the loss of our historic neighborhoods. As mayor, how will you pursue a broad-based economic development that provides meaningful opportunities for work with living wages, protects our cultural patrimony, and includes the participation of all? 

Hon. Oscar Leeser (5)

for Mayor of El Paso

Oscar Leeser declined to answer our candidate questionnaire.

Hon. Dee Margo (6)

for Mayor of El Paso

Since I became your Mayor, we have added 4,155 net new jobs with $808 million in capital investments. That’s $300 million more investment with 1,500 more new jobs than the previous administration.

Q.5

A Community of Immigrants

El Paso has a noble tradition of providing hospitality to asylum seekers and migrants seeking a better life at our borders. As mayor, what leadership role will you play in the national debate around comprehensive immigration reform?

Hon. Oscar Leeser (5)

for Mayor of El Paso

Oscar Leeser declined to answer our candidate questionnaire.

Hon. Dee Margo (6)

for Mayor of El Paso

I have been advocating the Federal Government for comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for DACA recipients and I will always advocate for our binational community. 

Q.6

Sanctity of Life
In January 2020, the Mayor of El Paso issued a proclamation in support of the National Sanctity of Human Life Day. Will you support similar proclamations in support of local pro-life organizations walking with expectant mothers in crisis pregnancies?

Hon. Oscar Leeser (5)

for Mayor of El Paso

   

Hon. Dee Margo (6)

for Mayor of El Paso

Q.7

Municipal IDs
Do you support municipal IDs for El Paso's immigrant population?

Hon. Oscar Leeser (5)

for Mayor of El Paso

Hon. Dee Margo (6)

for Mayor of El Paso

Q.8

Downtown Area
Do you support the termination of the downtown arena project or its re-location away from historic neighborhoods?

Hon. Oscar Leeser (5)

for Mayor of El Paso

Hon. Dee Margo (6)

for Mayor of El Paso

Q.9

Fracking
Do you support the El Paso Electric Company's planned 228-megawatt Natural Gas generator, called ‘Newman 6’, which will generate power from fracked gas?

Hon. Oscar Leeser (5)

for Mayor of El Paso

Hon. Dee Margo (6)

for Mayor of El Paso

Q.10

Democracy
Do you support additional limits on campaign contributions for mayoral and city council races?

Hon. Oscar Leeser (5)

for Mayor of El Paso

Hon. Dee Margo (6)

for Mayor of El Paso

Q.11

Community Policing
Do you support the expansion of the El Paso Police Department’s crisis intervention teams, which respond to emergencies involving the mentally ill?

Hon. Oscar Leeser (5)

for Mayor of El Paso

Hon. Dee Margo (6)

for Mayor of El Paso

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RUNOFF ELECTION 2020: EL PASO CITY COUNCIL

ELECTION 2020: EL PASO CITY COUNCIL

This December, there will be a runoff election for city council races in districts 2 and 4.

Not sure what district you live in? Find out using the District Locator.

 

The El Paso City Council race is non-partisan. Although individual candidates may belong to a political party, they do not identify party affiliation on the ballot.

 

Whoever is elected City Representative will serve a four year term. If no candidate wins a majority in the general election, the top two vote-getters will advance to a runoff, to be scheduled at a later date.

Here are some things you should know about the El Paso City Council, City Representatives and the City Manager:

 

  • The City Council comprises the Mayor and City Representatives

  • The City Council has the power to pass local legislation

  • The City Council selects, directs and evaluates the City Manager

  • The City Manager is the chief administrative officer of the City and is responsible to the City Council for personnel management, the management of City departments and agencies, preparing and submitting the City budget, and providing regular financial reports

WHO'S RUNNING FOR CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 2?

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Miriam ‘Judy’ Gutierrez (9)
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Alexsandra Annello (Incumbent) (10)

 

WHERE DO THE CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 2 CANDIDATES STAND?

We asked each of the candidates the following long and short-form questions. These are their answers.

Q.1 

Emerging from the Crisis Better

The pandemic has affected everyone in the borderlands but has hit the poor, working class families, immigrants and people of color hardest. As mayor, what specific policies will you pursue to prioritize an equitable recovery for the most vulnerable and ensure that we emerge from the current crisis stronger? 

Miriam 'Judy' Gutierrrez (9)

for City Council District 2

Did not respond to our request

Alexsandra Annello (10)

for City Council District 2

As a City Representative, I will continue to work towards greater public health enforcement actions that businesses must maintain to reduce further outbreaks of this virus. I would support robust enforcement of public health measures recommended by the CDC and health experts which would greatly reduce the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths that our community has seen. This would include warnings followed by citations for businesses who fail to maintain imperative health measures. 

Our economy cannot improve if our population continues to get sick, and it turns out that our most vulnerable communities are at the greatest risk of this virus. This focus also extends to helping small businesses that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The city has vast economic development funds which should be used now to help businesses pay their employees so that both business owners and employees can continue to pay their rent or mortgage, healthcare costs, and provide for their families. This will also help ease the shortfalls businesses are experiencing in order to get employees back to work to continue making our community strong and vibrant.

Q.2 

Racial Solidarity

Last year, our community suffered a racially motivated terrorist attack and our nation continues to wrestle with ensuring dignity and equality for all people of color, including in the areas of policing and criminal justice. As mayor, what specific actions will you take to address systemic racism in the borderlands?

Miriam 'Judy' Gutierrrez (9)

for City Council District 2

Did not respond to our request

Alexsandra Annello (10)

for City Council District 2

I would seek to continue funding the Crisis Intervention Team with our police force which pairs mental health professionals with police officers responding to calls to people who are experiencing a mental health emergency. I have been a champion for community policing and have taken action on assisting officers in reaching their goals and outcomes in resources to keep our community safe. I identified and will continue to identify money to secure funds for more equipment and better facilities for our police department, including further training on issues related to race and ethnicity. I also believe we need to be seeking grants to enhance community relationships, like the PAL program which pays officers overtime to interact with the youth and build relationships to de-escalate future incidents on both sides.

Q.3

Addressing the Challenge of Climate Change

This past summer was one of the hottest in the history of the borderlands. As mayor, what will your plan be for a city response to addressing climate change? How will you leverage the city’s leadership role in moving our community away from fossil fuels and practices like fracking towards sustainable practices that protect the environment?

Miriam 'Judy' Gutierrrez (9)

for City Council District 2

Did not respond to our request

Alexsandra Annello (10)

for City Council District 2

The city has relaxed watering requirements for businesses and has increased projects that use large water consumption. I would put stricter rules on those businesses, especially those receiving economic development incentives, which would quickly reduce the amount of water that is being used. Further, I supported environmentally friendly utility resources when we negotiated the sale of the El Paso Electric company. I will hold El Paso Electric to their promise to conduct an environmental study and push them to follow through with the findings. We should also limit urban sprawl which creates more water consumption and instead focus on developing existing neighborhoods. 

In addition, I would like to help implement a model in which standing storm water is used for irrigation purposes to help further beautify El Paso neighborhoods and parks. The City's resiliency plan addresses storm water and green spaces as a long-term impact to urban heat islands which are created by large areas of concrete. This would help reduce flooding as well as reducing the stress that heat places on our infrastructure.

Q.4

Integral Economic Development

Sometimes we hear that the necessary cost of economic development in El Paso is the displacement of more vulnerable communities, gentrification and the loss of our historic neighborhoods. As mayor, how will you pursue a broad-based economic development that provides meaningful opportunities for work with living wages, protects our cultural patrimony, and includes the participation of all? 

Miriam 'Judy' Gutierrrez (9)

for City Council District 2

Did not respond to our request

Alexsandra Annello (10)

for City Council District 2

I think that District 2 residents have spent too much money on Economic Development incentives and outward growth that does not benefit them. I have not supported 380 agreements, which are our Economic Development incentives, that do not pay a living wage to their employees. I have always been a proponent of paying hard workers decent, living wages and should companies seek tax breaks or incentives, they should live up to those values. For those reasons, I will only support incentives for companies that truly support their employees who make up our community. As to the displacement of communities, I am and have always been opposed to the displacement of El Pasoans for entertainment venues, especially when the price of such structures continues to balloon. I am a proponent of historic preservation and rather than demolish our community’s oldest neighborhoods, I believe we should invest more to build up and maintain neighborhoods and community centers to allow El Pasoans to live, work, and play.

Q.5

A Community of Immigrants

El Paso has a noble tradition of providing hospitality to asylum seekers and migrants seeking a better life at our borders. As mayor, what leadership role will you play in the national debate around comprehensive immigration reform?

Miriam 'Judy' Gutierrrez (9)

for City Council District 2

Did not respond to our request

Alexsandra Annello (10)

for City Council District 2

City Council should play a large role in national issues as we are among the largest border communities on the planet. City Council members witness firsthand national issues related to border, trade, and immigration issues on a daily basis, making us far better experts than bureaucrats and elected officials in Austin, Texas or Washington, DC who do not understand our community needs. I would work to continue to be the face and voice on these national items in order to develop and adopt sound comprehensive immigration reform which is desperately needed. I would immediately begin to work closer with our federal representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. In addition, I would focus on creating a network and engage more with national and state organizations that focus on issues related to immigration in order to more effectively and accurately elevate our voices in the borderland.

Q.6

Sanctity of Life
In January 2020, the Mayor of El Paso issued a proclamation in support of the National Sanctity of Human Life Day. Will you support similar proclamations in support of local pro-life organizations walking with expectant mothers in crisis pregnancies?

Miriam 'Judy' Gutierrrez (9)

for City Council District 2

.

Alexsandra Annello (10)

for City Council District 2

I would like to address the Sanctity of Life proclamation question. I do not believe the Mayor's proclamation stood with mothers in crisis. I believe in standing with all women in crisis or not, allowing them to make decisions about what is best for them in their situation. Also, proclamations are distributed by the mayor with no vote from council, yet it bears their name. I do not think is appropriate to generate such a controversial proclamation, that comes with a lot of emotion and opinion, without a conversation with the council and should have been done so in the form of a resolution.

Q.7

Municipal IDs
Do you support municipal IDs for El Paso's immigrant population?

Miriam 'Judy' Gutierrrez (9)

for City Council District 2

Alexsandra Annello (10)

for City Council District 2

Q.8

Downtown Area
Do you support the termination of the downtown arena project or its re-location away from historic neighborhoods?

Miriam 'Judy' Gutierrrez (9)

for City Council District 2

Alexsandra Annello (10)

for City Council District 2

Q.9

Fracking
Do you support the El Paso Electric Company's planned 228-megawatt Natural Gas generator, called ‘Newman 6’, which will generate power from fracked gas?

Miriam 'Judy' Gutierrrez (9)

for City Council District 2

Alexsandra Annello (10)

for City Council District 2

Q.10

Democracy
Do you support additional limits on campaign contributions for mayoral and city council races?

Miriam 'Judy' Gutierrrez (9)

for City Council District 2

Alexsandra Annello (10)

for City Council District 2

Q.10

Democracy
Do you support additional limits on campaign contributions for mayoral and city council races?

Miriam 'Judy' Gutierrrez (9)

for City Council District 2

Alexsandra Annello (10)

for City Council District 2

WHO'S RUNNING FOR CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 4?

Morgan.jpg
Sam Morgan (Incumbent) (13)
Molinar.jpg

Joe Molinar (14)

Candidates for City Council District 4 did not respond to our questions.

 
 

RUNOFF ELECTION 2020: EL PASO MUNICIPAL COURT JUDGES

ELECTION 2020: EL PASO MUNICIPAL COURT JUDGES

For many El Pasoans, the El Paso Municipal Courts are their first experience with the justice system.

 

The El Paso Municipal Courts handle Class C misdemeanors and civil parking citations issued within the city limits. The El Paso Municipal Court of Appeals hears appeals filed from the El Paso Municipal Courts.

 

El Pasoans will have the opportunity to vote for judges in the five Municipal Courts as well as the judge for the Municipal Court of Appeals.

 

Here we list candidates for races where more than one candidate is on the ballot. Consult the City of El Paso Sample Ballot to learn more about other races.

WHO'S RUNNING FOR CITY JUDGE, CITY OF EL PASO MUNICIPAL COURT NO. 4?

Lillian Elena Blancas (17)

Enrique Alonso Holguin (18)

 

WHO'S RUNNING FOR CITY JUDGE, CITY OF EL PASO MUNICIPAL COURT OF APPEALS?

Maria Ramirez (21)

Rebecca Tarango (22)

 
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Runoff Edition

Borderlands Voting Guide 2020: The El Paso Mayoral Election

by Hope Border Institute & Most Rev. Mark J. Seitz, Bishop of El Paso

 

499 St. Matthews St.

El Paso, TX 79907

info@hopeborder.org

(915) 872-8400 ext.200

Send us a message.

© 2020 by Hope Border Institute.​

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