AUSTIN (KXAN) — Candidates for Austin City Council District 5 will meet at the Lustre Pearl South Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. for a forum hosted by Aura — a group that focuses on housing and transportation in Austin.
“The questions will very much be focused on things like, ‘what is your vision of I-35? And how do you see building more housing and more affordable housing in Austin?’ You know, ‘how do we build a transportation network for the next round of growth?'” Felicity Maxwell, a board member of AURA, said ahead of the Tuesday forum.
It’s one of many events we expect to see as we near the November election. The mayoral seat and five city council seats are up for grabs this election. There are more than 30 people running to fill those positions.
We asked the candidates for District 5 for their elevator pitch of why they should be allowed to represent you at City Hall. The order of the candidates below is the same order as you’ll see on your ballot.
(Don’t know which district you’re in? You can find out using this district map, provided by the City of Austin. District 5 covers the middle section of south Austin.)
Alter was born and raised in the Austin-area. After graduating from law school, he went into public policy as a Capitol staffer and attorney.
Alter has worked with Senators Kirk Watson, Sylvia Garcia, and Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa. He said he’s now looking to make change as the District 5 city council member.
Alter’s elevator pitch: “I’m running because I think we can do better on a whole host of issues: Whether it’s housing affordability, homelessness, transportation infrastructure, the environment or just the function of our city government. Austinites deserve to have leaders who have the experience to actually deliver results for them and that’s what I’m prepared to do.”
You can find more about Ryan Alter on his campaign website.
Welch brought a paper resume to KXAN’s newsroom for his interview, which includes details about his time as a Brigadier General in the United States Air Force, his time as a business man and entrepreneur and his goals for this role, which would again pull him from retirement.
Welch is running on the platform “a return to reason.” He said many people have complained to him about what the current city council is doing, but weren’t willing to jump into the mix themselves. That’s why he’s running.
Welch’s elevator pitch: “I think it’s pretty simple, I’m very different than the rest of them. I mean, I think if you look at me and my experience, it’s vast and it’s relative to the work that’s going to be required of someone who serves on the council. I think that alone is a differentiator and that’s probably the biggest factor right there. It’s about quality of experience and breadth of experience, which I have far in excess of anything they have.”
You can find more about Bill Welch on his campaign website.
Craig has served more than seven years as the senior policy advisor for Councilmember Ann Kitchen, who is sitting in this role now. Craig said it’s that experience, and knowing how City Hall operates, that will make him most successful in this position.
Craig’s elevator pitch: “I am committed to seeing that everyone, regardless of identities, is able to fully participate in economic prosperity in Austin. That includes like affordable places for people to live, do business… opportunity to be healthy in our city, to be safe, make sure that our cultural heritage and our green spaces and our environment are preserved.
You can find more about Ken Craig on his campaign website.
Bazan was born and raised in south Austin, in the district she is hoping to represent. She graduated from the Women’s Campaign School at the University of Texas’ LBJ School of Public Affairs, to which she added “go horns.” Bazan has worked in healthcare, law and homeless services.
She also said she’s a political outsider, a working mom, who will bring the ideas and desires of regular Austinites the City Hall.
Bazan’s elevator pitch: “I want people to know that I care and that I’m going to listen. The type of leadership style that I have is a listener. I certainly have lots of ideas about things that we could do to better the programs that we have and to make our city better, but it does no good if we don’t have the will of the people. It is the council members’ job to help be the voice of their community.”
You can find more about Stephanie Bazan on her campaign website.
Aaron Velazquez Webman
Aaron Velazquez Webman is an artist and filmmaker. He founded and now runs a business. Webman said he moved to Austin from California, and that he’s working to make change so Austin doesn’t see some of the same policy mistakes California municipalities made.
He said he wants to live here forever with his children, who are young, and that he thinks he can help bring fresh perspectives to the issues facing Austin right now.
Webman’s elevator pitch: “I love this city, I’m never going to run for office again, win or lose, because I think that if you’re in politics for too long, that your incentives necessarily become perverse, you stop caring about actually trying to solve problems, and you just care about winning the next election. I’m the only really kind of political outsider in this race. My ego is not tied to this thing like my opponents are because I have a very full life outside of politics.”
You can find more about Aaron Velazquez Webman on his campaign website.
Brian Anderson II
KXAN was unable to reach Anderson before airing this story, but his website lists his top priorities as housing, climate crisis preparedness, infrastructure, education and public health.
His website offers an elevator pitch:
“What made Anderson decide to run for office now? Pick your poison: women’s reproductive rights being rolled; the Texas state government attacking Queer kids and their parents, even threatening to prosecute parents in the courts for listening to doctors; banning books and ideas from schools like a communist state; or a fumbled government response to the Monkeypox outbreak, the first global viral threat since COVID. And on the positive side – our city has never been in a stronger position to shape its future. The opportunities to improve the lives of all Austinites are great and numerous – we need only seize the moment!”
You can find more about Brian Anderson on his campaign website.