Half of Austin City Council's 10 seats—Districts 2, 4, 6, 7 and 10—are up for election this November, and after Monday's filing deadline, 20 candidates will be competing for a spot on the (virtual) dais.
Elected members will be tasked with rewriting the city's land use code, considering further cuts to the Austin Police Department's budget and, if voters approve a tax rate increase, implementing the $7.1 billion Project Connect transit plan.
City council seats are nonpartisan, although all current members are affiliated with the Democratic Party. Austin residents can plug in their address to find their council district here.
Here's a list of who's running:
District 2 Council Member Delia Garza will vacate her seat to serve as Travis County attorney. She won the Democratic primary for the position in July, and there is no Republican candidate.
Four candidates are vying to replace Garza on council, including David Chincanchan, former chief of staff for District 3 Council Member Pio Renteria; Vanessa Fuentes, who works for the American Heart Association and said one of her top priorities would be improving health equity in Austin; Casey Ramos, a boxer who lost to Garza in 2016; and Alex Strenger, a pedicab driver who unsuccessfully ran for mayor in 2018 and has advocated for building a dome around Austin to keep out Californians.
This district covers Southeast Austin.
District 4 Council Member Greg Casar is running for re-election against Louis C. Herrin III, a civil engineer who ran against Casar in 2016 and 2014, and Ramesses II Setepenre, a licensed massage therapist. While on the council, Casar has been a vocal proponent for the recent cuts to the Austin Police Department's budget, paid sick leave and a historic affordable housing bond.
This district includes parts of northeast and north central Austin.
District 6 Council Member Jimmy Flannigan will face off against Deedra Harrison, a consultant; Mackenzie Kelly, a client care manager who unsuccessfully ran against Flannigan in 2014 and opposes public camping and recent cuts to Austin's police department; and Dr. Jennifer Musthaler, a physician. Flannigan's reelection campaign platform includes public safety reform, regional mobility, affordability and social justice.
This district covers parts of northwest Austin.
District 7 Council Member Leslie Pool will face off against one opponent, education adviser Morgan Witt, this election. Pool's priorities include environmental sustainability and preserving Austin neighborhoods' character. Witt, a renter who claims to be the "truly progressive" candidate, supports improving mobility and forming Austin's zoning code to allow for more diversity of housing.
This district includes parts of north central Austin.
District 10 Council Member Alison Alter faces the most crowded field, with six other candidates running for her seat. Her opponents are Ben Easton, a writer who ran unsuccessfully as a Libertarian candidate for the Texas House in 2016; Belinda Greene, who works in sales; Pooja Sethi, an attorney whose campaign platform includes community-driven transit and police reform; Robert Thomas, an attorney who ran unsuccessfully for the seat in 2014 and whose platform includes reinstating the police academy and public camping ban; Noel Tristan, a business owner; and Jennifer Virden, who opposes council's recent cut to police funding and the "astronomical" cost of Project Connect.
This district covers West Austin.
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Fuel costs in Austin and across the nation are record high—and they're not going down anytime soon.
Average gas prices in Travis County are sitting a hefty $4.16 per gallon, according to AAA, compared to an average of $2.70 last year. Nationwide, fuel prices are at an average of $4.48 per gallon.
The bill per gallon is the highest ever recorded in Austin but experts don’t expect a reprieve anytime soon—GasBuddy head of petroleum analysis Patrick DeHaan said to expect new records on a “near daily” basis.
"There isn’t much reason to be optimistic that we’ll see a plunge any time soon,” DeHaan said, adding to expect prices closer to $5 by the end of the week.
Why are prices climbing? DeHaan says to blame low inventory combined with high demand, more expensive blends and warming temperatures jump-starting “driving season.”
While gas prices are marginally cheaper in Williamson and Hays Counties, between $4.12-$4.13, surrounding counties are locked into the same price range.
Texas has been home to some of the country’s biggest celebrities of all time—think Amarillo resident Georgia O'Keeffe, Lubbock’s Buddy Holly and Corpus Christi’s famous singer Selena.
The Pudding’s People Map of the U.S., which shows each city’s “most Wikipedia’ed” resident, placed celebrities from all walks of life on the Texas map. As for Central Texas celebrities, there are some interesting (and not so surprising) names on deck.
Proving that Austin is “alright, alright, alright,” Minister of Culture Matthew McConaughey is both Austin’s and Uvalde’s top Wikipedia’ed resident. McConaughey, who was born in San Antonio adjacent Uvalde, has deeply ingrained himself in Austin by studying Radio-Television-Film at UT Austin, starring in the Austin-filmed movie “Dazed and Confused” and investing in Austin FC.
Heading down just a few miles south, San Marcos claimed former president Lyndon Baines Johnson as Texas State University’s most famous alumni, who graduated in 1930, and was also named in Fredericksburg. LBJ wasn’t the only ex-president on the map—George W. Bush was listed as the top resident in Dallas, Midland, Houston and Crawford.
You’ll see some other names with ties to Austin strewn around the state: Janis Joplin in Beaumont and Port Arthur; Stone Cold Steve Austin in Victoria and Edna; Dan Rather in his hometown of Wharton; and Waylon Jennings in Littlefield.
Venturing outside of the central areas, there are big celebrities who call Texas Home. Actress and artist Selena Gomez dominated search traffic in her hometown of Grand Prairie, musical artist Post Malone was most “Wikipedia’ed” in Grapevine, and Shaquille O’Neal was named in the city where he went to high school, San Antonio.
Plus, Thomas Haden Church, Angela Kinsey, Jessica Simpson, Chuck Norris, Roy Orbison, Ron White, Jessica Alba, Colt McCoy, Jimmy Dean and Johnny Manziel all had at least one city covered on the list.
Where’s Texas’ newest resident, Elon Musk? You’ll find him still in Los Angeles, as his foray into Texas living has just begun.Click here to view the full map.