EL PASO, Texas -- In a highly personal letter where he recounts the Covid-19 deaths of his mother and brother, El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser wrote to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday evening seeking authority for the city to impose its own mask mandate when the state's is lifted next week.
Leeser shares with Abbott details about his family's devastating experience with Covid-19 last year. The observation the mayor offers about the value of face masks in his letter is similar to a message he gave El Pasoans at his news conference on Wednesday.
"I lost my mother in November to Covid-19. The night before she passed away, my two sisters and my brother visited her. I implored them to wear a facemask. We didn't know that she was Covid-positive, but I suspected she might be. We later learned that she had Covid-19. My sisters wore a facemask and were not infected. My brother did not wear a mask. Sadly we lost my brother on Christmas Eve," Lesser recalls to the governor.
Later in the letter he states emphatically: "If my brother had worn a face mask, he would still be alive today."
Leeser told the governor he shared his story not to evoke sympathy, but rather to emphasize the "power and protection" that requiring face masks can have. He asks Abbott to allow local communities the right to impose a mask mandate if they see benefit in doing so.
The entire letter can be viewed below.