Candidates aim to replace Austin’s only conservative council member

Austin
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AUSTIN (KXAN) — A southwest Austin City Council seat is up for grabs this November since the council’s only conservative member, Ellen Troxclair, isn’t running for re-election.

The four candidates for District 8 participated in a forum on Sept. 17 and focused on issues like finding ways to reduce traffic and make living in Austin more affordable. 

“I have seen at the ground level that we can both manage our growth and advance our transportation and housing initiatives in a way that is both productive and smart,” candidate Paige Ellis said. 

Ellis, a marketing and public involvement specialist for an environmental consulting firm, says she is a supporter of protecting the environment in southwest Austin.  

In addition to talking traffic, the candidates also discussed property taxes in Austin. 

“I would start with how City Hall addresses the budget year after year,” candidate Frank Ward said. “The fact is, we’re getting taxed into oblivion.” 

Ward, who currently serves on the city’s Parks and Recreation Board, was endorsed by the Travis County GOP Executive Committee and says he supports an auditing initiative to see how the city is spending its money. 

Another topic discussed at the forum was support for funding social services in the community. 

Candidate Bobby Levinski says Austin needs to prop people up and give them opportunities for success, so they won’t need to rely on social services. “I think we have to recognize about the way that our system is designed, is it’s designed for people to fail,” he said.  

Levinski is an environmental attorney and has served as a policy advisor for three Austin City Council members since 2005. 

Rich DePalma, who says his supporters come from both sides of the aisle, says that bringing social services to southwest Austin is one of the most important issues. “We’ll have to prioritize and advocate for our own communities,” he said. “For me, our seniors is a major issue.”

DePalma is currently the vice chair of the city of Austin Parks and Recreation Board and he says he wants to fix the state’s “recapture” system to lower taxes. 

Early voting in the council election begins on Oct. 22. Election day is Nov. 6.

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