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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Four candidates will appear on Austin’s District 1 voter ballots this November. Here is a look at the candidates vying for office and their key platform focuses.
Misael D. Ramos
On Ramos’ campaign website, key issues he honed in on include:
- Collaborating with communities and nonprofits to create affordable housing
- Updating the Land Development Code to prioritize affordable housing along major corridors to enhance community access
- Develop an income-based tax calculation with city, county and state officials
- Develop an inheritance homestead exemption for generational communities in east Austin to help keep these families in their homes
- Create more transitional housing and rehabilitation resources for Austin’s unhoused population; increase number of mental health and emergency medical professionals
In a candidate interview with the City of Austin, Ramos’ campaign centered on an increase in affordable housing opportunities for both renters and homeowners. A native Texan, Ramos currently serves as a business analyst manager and as president of the Blackland Community Development Corporation, which develops affordable housing.
He’s also assisted at the city level by working on the Equitable Historic Preservation Committee and Resiliency Hub Committee.
“I’m accountable and I listen to my community to ensure their voices are being heard,” he said. “Not only do I have the skills to lead, but I also have a proven record around identifying issues while pushing community-driven solutions to get things done.”
Core focus areas on Rarey’s campaign website include:
- Lowering property taxes; city fees; utility costs
- Balancing the city’s budget to cut “wasteful spending and redundancies”
- Streamlining Austin’s permitting process and reducing building fees to enhance the number of single-family homes built
- Create open-source budgeting where all funds spent can be narrowed down to the dollar
- Calls for all council agenda items to be posted 30 days pre-vote for the public to review
- Mandate council members schedule one town hall meeting every other month that allows for open comments
- Shelter and treat Austin’s homeless population; establish temporary shelters; work alongside Community First! Village, the Austin Salvation Army Rehab Center, Central Health and other partners to assist with addiction and mental health resources
- Enforce Austin’s camping ban
- Restaff police dispatchers, EMS, patrol units, detectives, etc.
Rarey said in his candidate interview with the City of Austin his platform is centered on lowering the city’s cost of living, enhancing public safety through more hires and department resources, while improving overall transparency and accountability.
He said key affordability concerns center around overpriced real estate and heightened electricity and water costs. He added city leadership needs to focus on improving infrastructure and its water resources, calling for an audit of both Austin Water and Austin Energy.
“If you’re OK with the status quo, then don’t vote for me,” he said. “But if you’re looking for a change and improvement in the City of Austin, vote for Clinton Rarey this Nov. 8.”
House-Dixon’s campaign focus areas zero in on affordability, public safety and homelessness, historic preservation efforts and environmental conservation. Campaign platform elements include:
- Redefine growth and development as communities have been “exploited, gentrified, displaced and overtaxed”
- Hone in on affordability preservation and develop housing opportunities for people who don’t make upwards of $100,000
- Advocate fair wages for all, with a specific focus on educators, service team members and local artists
- Support and advocate for women who face sexual harassment without support or protection, while developing trauma response and healing resources
In her candidate interview with the City of Austin, House-Dixon outlined her background and qualifications, which include serving as president of the East MLK Neighborhood Association, co-chair of the East MLK Contact Team, a victim services volunteer and former business owner.
“I am deeply concerned about how our district is being led and witness the effects current leadership has had on our residents,” she said.
Her interview focused on health disparities within District 1, including accessibility and affordable services to keep residents healthy. She said leaders need to incentivize developers to expand grocery options, medical clinics and community centers to offer preventative care resources.
On homelessness, she said the city needs to expand its outreach services and include unhoused population members’ voices in solution-building. She said there hasn’t been enough investment in the past four years in infrastructure building for the area’s older residents and low-income community members.
Incumbent Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison’s platform focus centers on Austin’s housing crisis, mobility issues and employment and economic opportunities. Key issues include:
- Pair affordable and market-rate housing growth with “equitable transit-oriented development”; pushing back against parking and lot size minimums, compatibility standards
- Encourage and incentivize development along transit corridors
- Expand workforce re-entry programs with justice involvement; advocate for livable wages and build more kinds of housing resources across town
- Expand density along transit corridors; unlock Equitable Transit-Oriented Development along future light rail and enhanced bus lines
In her candidate interview with the City of Austin, she said her experience as an Austin native informs her role on council.
“My family lives right here. We planted our roots in the mid-seventies, and I came along at the old Brackenridge Hospital in 1977,” she said. “This has been my home, the place that raised me, the place that educated me and the place that showed me that you can make your city what it is that you want it to be.”
At the forefront of her focuses are expanded housing infrastructure, access to robust mobility options and ways to redress economic segregation and financial gaps impacting residents.