MOBILITY

Improving mobility is about increasing choices and looking at mobility as a service. We took a big step forward with the 2016 mobility bond, the largest in the city’s history, that primarily focused on making our busiest streets smarter, more community and transit supportive, and making our busiest roads safe for multiple modes of travel (including bikes, trails, and sidewalks). We need to support new technologies and platforms, especially to help with first and last mile solutions to help increase transit viability and ridership and reach into areas with great need that are underserved. We need to look at 2020 for even more transportation and transit investments and should be pointing to a regional effort that sets in place a mobility plan for the next twenty-five years.

 
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AFFORDABILITY

This 10-1 council has done tremendous work on housing affordability. We have increased contributions to the affordable housing trust fund by 540% since 2015. In the same time span, more than 2,000 affordable units have been put on the ground while there are another 5,000 in the planning process.

I’m proud that our largest investment for affordable housing will be on the ballot this fall — $250 million. That’s more than four times any previous investment. We have also launched the first regional workforce plan which will train 30,000 Austinites for middle skill jobs (that don’t require a four-year degree) needing to be filled and 10,000 of those people will be lifted out of poverty or near poverty. I’ll continue to find new and creative ways to fund affordable housing, including bolstering the work of the Austin Housing Conservancy, a group that seeks to purchase and preserve affordable workforce housing throughout our community.

I’ll also continue the fight to reform the educational funding system at the state, which is placing an unfair burden on Austin taxpayers. I’ll do that by bringing together other Mayors and cities of all political persuasions and by fighting to elect candidates that will change the unfair system. This council also passed a 10% homestead exemption, saving the median homeowner more than $130 a year in city property taxes. At the same time, we increased the senior and disabled exemption every year.

 
 

EQUITY

Austin has made tremendous strides in the past three years. I convened the Spirit of East Austin initiative and the Mayor’s Task Force on Institutional Racism and Systemic Inequities, the first of its kind in the nation. The report that the latter body issued shined a light on the existing remnants of the shameful past of our city and produced over 250 specific recommendations to effect change. We’ve acted on 60 of the recommendations and 90 more are underway. We established the city’s first ever Equity Office so we now view everything done in the city through an equity lens and with an eye toward remedying the long-standing racial and socioeconomic issues in our city.


 
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Sustainability

My top priority is climate change mitigation, including but not limited to pushing for as much renewable energy as is possible (consistent with our affordability goals that help protect lower income Austinites), closing the coal plant, facilitating electrification of and actually electrifying cars and buses (both public fleets and private vehicles) with charging stations, new mobility technologies, and procurement, keeping Austin on the leading edge of the Zero Waste movement, advancing large scale battery research and testing, and advancing the conservation and supply distribution practices for Austin Energy and our water utility (including development of new business models for each as called for in the Water Forward plan).  Austin has long taken steps in these or similar directions and has done even more in these areas in the past several years. The city, together with stakeholder groups, needs to even further continue and expand this work.

In addition to those specific priorities, I feel it is critical for Austin to acquire as much land for conservation as our budget and bonding capacity can bear. Austin has taken on an ever greater and increasingly visible leadership environmental role among cities in Texas, the country, and internationally through the C40 Cities alliance and we have a responsibility to expand and elevate further this role.  Adhering to the Mayors Compact – C40 Cities, the Under2 Coalition of international, subnational governments, and the Paris Climate Accords are top priorities and the above specific actions reflect that commitment. Our city is assuming this leadership role in other ways, too, and two examples would be our leadership role successfully competing for Bloomberg environmental grants and our recent electrification/equity project which received a best practice national award from the US Conf. of Mayors. Other cities look to Austin for best environmental practices and we must maintain and grow that role. We can and must do this because of the progressive, resilient, sustainable culture and mindset of the residents of our city. I do my best to help ensure these values are reflected in everything the city does.


 
 

ARTS & MUSIC

Austin is a city that doesn't just appreciate arts and music — we create it. It's my goal to keep it that way. To that end, I'm proud to have introduced the Music & Creative Ecosystem Omnibus Resolution, which seeks to direct city efforts and funding toward the local music industry and the creative arts.

We are focusing our efforts on venue preservation, impact hubs to bring together different parts of the industry, and ordinance changes that help live music and the creative arts flourish. I led the effort to extend operating hours on Red River, bringing together live music venues and neighborhoods for the first time.


 
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SOCIAL JUSTICE & TRANSPARENCY

I'm proud to be a part of the most progressive council in the history of Austin. We've taken many steps to help those who need it the most, including the passage of paid sick leave, fair chance hiring, a living wage of $15 for city employees, benefits for part time and temporary workers, and many more.

I've also put forward several proposals to increase funding for permanent supportive housing, mental health services, and other support services for those experiencing homelessness. We can increase the hotel occupancy tax through a convention center expansion and work with hotels to find more than $70 million over ten years to fund support services and housing.

Austin was recognized by former HUD Secretary Julian Castro for effectively ending homelessness among veterans. I was proud to craft an innovative approach to solving veteran homelessness by bringing together private partners, the Austin Apartment Association, and the business community. This council also passed lobbyist reform, campaign finance transparency, and funded body cameras for every police officer.



 
 

STANDING UP TO TRUMP

The world may go crazy, but we'll still be Austin, Texas, and I'm going to fight for our city and against the Trump Agenda. That means standing up to Dan Patrick and the Republican majority in the State Legislature, fighting against SB4 and unjust immigration enforcement, as well as the cruel family separation policy championed by Trump's White House. That means signing the Paris Climate International Mayors Compact, pledging to reduce our city's carbon output through aggressive renewable energy goals, fleet electrification, and the closure of our coal-fired power plant. That means protecting women's health through ensuring access to clinics, ending the 20-year backlog on rape kits, and advocating for equal pay at the city. 

 
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