Austin City Council: Meet the District 4 candidates running for office
Austin, Texas - It's not every year that a city council member steps down in the middle of their term to run for Congress, but when they do, it means it's special election time.
That's just what happened with the City of Austin's District 4, which had been represented by Greg Casar until he opted to take his progressive politics and go-getter attitude to the federal level in a run for Congress.
With his absence arises the need to fill the seat with someone who will justly represent and fight for the citizens within the district as Casar has done since 2014.
According to the Austin American-Statesman, the District 4 special election will cost the city roughly $253,898, and potentially more should a runoff be required to determine a winner.
With Election Day coming up on Tuesday, it's a great time for eligible voters within the district to get acquainted with the seven hopefuls vying for a seat on the city council.
So let's meet the seven candidates running to represent District 4 on the Austin City Council.
From progressive continuity to business savvy
- Jose "Chito" Vela III
Both Casar and Vela hold similar progressive views on voting rights, immigration, and affordable housing.
If elected, Vela said he plans to focus on the Project Connect light rail to make the growing city more accessible to all, the housing crisis, and the response to the winter storm of February 2021 that left many Texans in the dark without water or heat.
In his initial announcement regarding his run for City Council, Vela said, "We must make sure that Austin is a welcoming city for working-class people, not a playground for the wealthy."
He added: "You see our writers and our musicians and our actors and our creative class – folks that used to come to Austin because it fostered creativity and opportunity for so many people – and they're struggling to remain in the city."
- Jade Lovera
Currently serving as the Chief Strategy Officer of Women Who Werk, an organization that provides the resources women need to succeed on their own that focuses on women of color and those of lower socioeconomic experiences, Lovera's website states, "Our city has become transactional, and the system is broken. It is more interested in 'doing deals' than actually serving residents or solving problems."
In order to fix this, Lovera plans on listening to those within the District 4 community and addressing their concerns head on to create policies that actually provide solutions to its residents.
A wide array of stances
- Isa Boonto
As an art teacher at Navarro Early College High School and president of the North Austin Civic Association, Boonto is focused on finding solutions for the affordable housing crisis that allows transplants to enjoy living in the district, but also keeps current residents in their homes.
- Amanda Rios
- Monica Guzmán
This time around, Guzmán has a better platform to run on, given the fact she served on the city's reimagining public safety task force, a volunteer group hand-selected by the city manager's office tasked with recommending policing changes after the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020.
If elected, Guzmán plans to focus on enhancing public safety, increasing access to healthcare for underserved communities, economic development, and protecting the right to public education.
- Melinda Schiera
- Ramessess II Setepenre
There's not a lot of information regarding his views on his official Facebook page, but it seems he's interested in living wages, access to affordable housing, and giving a voice to underserved communities in District 4.
Election Day for the District 4 contest is Tuesday, January 25, and the polls will be open from 7 AM to 7 PM CST. Should a runoff election be needed, it will take place on March 22.
Cover photo: Collage: Taylor Kamnetz/Screenshot/City of Austin