Election Day is here, in which District 4 residents will decide who will represent them on city council.
Making up part of northeast Austin, District 4 has been represented by Council Member Greg Casar since 2014. As he makes a bid for U.S. Congress in District 35, a Special Election is being held for who will take his seat on council. Seven candidates are running for this position.
Know before you go
On Election Day, the polls are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. There are seven polling locations for this election:
Only members in this district vote in this election. To know what council district you reside in, click here.
The registration to vote in this election has passed, to check if you are registered, click here.
Don't forget a valid photo ID to present at the polls.
Candidates on the ballot
There are seven candidates running for this position from all walks of life in Austin. Here's a little about them.
Jose "Chito" Vela
Vela is a local immigration and criminal defense attorney, who is an advocate of labor and immigrant rights. Working with each other on the Workers Defense Project, Vela has gained the endorsement of Casar.
Vela's platform includes a focus on:
- the Project Connect light rail
- the housing crisis
- response to the February storm that resulted in the death of an estimated 702 Texans
Rios is a longtime Austinite who has worked as a bilingual teacher, she says. The Austin American-Statesman reports she has financially supported the political action committee Save Austin Now.
Her platform includes a focus on:
- comprehensive public safety
- ending homeless camping
- bringing back the live music scene
Guzmán has deep roots in the northeast Austin area, she says. She is the policy director of Go Austin/Vamos Austin (GAVA), an advocacy organization focused on community health outcomes. She has been endorsed by the Austin Chronicle and the Sierra Club.
Her platform focuses on:
- Comprehensive social justice reform
- Neighborhood stability
- Fighting climate change
A lifelong northeast Austin resident, Lovera is the chief strategy officer for Women Who Werk, a nonprofit that provides resources for women to succeed.
Her platform includes a focus on:
- investing in parks
- community safety
- improving infrastructure
- homelessness and mental health investment
Living in Austin since 2005, Schiera volunteered as vice-president and president of the North Austin Civic Association for the past 10 years. Melinda is a freelance marketing data analyst under her business Belt Out Loud Marketing.
Her platform includes a focus on:
- affordable housing
- public safety
An art teacher at Navarro Early College High School and Austin Mutual Aid organizer, Boonto wants to bring affordability concerns to the forefront of the conversation.
Boonto's plaform includes a focus on:
- Support for Austin’s homeless population
- Keeping current residents in their dwellings
- Better partnerships between public and private entities
Ramesses II Setepenre
Returning after his run last year, rideshare driver Setepenre describes himself as a “self-funded, gay eco-socialist.” In the three-person race last year, Setepenre said he ran to represent people like himself and took home 8% of the vote.
Setepenre's platform focuses on:
- Pro-Black, Brown, LGBTQIA+, Women’s rights, Indigenous rights
- Pro-drug decriminalization
- Healthcare for all
- Living Wages
- Green New Deal
When it comes to the 2022 Austin mayoral and City Council election set for Nov. 8, voters can examine the actual performance of the two incumbents seeking reelection. But what of the other 31 candidates whose names may be on the ballot and vying to be the new mayor or one of the five council members on the dais?
Aside from what these candidates say on the campaign trail, publish on their campaign websites, or post on social media, how do we judge their fitness for office? This article focuses on how much and how often each of the 33 candidates have participated in democracy by casting their votes at the ballot box.
We’ve all heard it before, ‘Austin isn’t what it used to be,’ despite residents complaining about their beloved city morphing since the 1880s. However, that’s not to say Austin hasn’t changed.
With expansive population growth, new businesses steadily flowing in, celebrities snapping up local property and constant new development, Austin is making its way through some growing pains.
Here are some of the parts of the city longtime Austinites gripe about and newcomers don't notice.
From its origins as a pseudo-red light in the 1990s to its emerging identity as a luxury shopping center and tourist destination, South Congress has been the epicenter of change in Austin. While many legacy businesses—think Prima Dora, Güero's Taco Bar and The Continental Club—are still operating, it has also seen its fair share of closures since the pandemic: Most recently, Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds announced it would closing.
the south congress area is raising my blood pressure— woman (@fiorellino__1) August 6, 2022
For each closure, there has been a handful of new openings, namely along Music Lane, which was completed in spring 2020. The new strip has brought crowds to luxury stores and restaurants that are typically reserved for the likes of The Domain, like designer brand Hermès, social club Soho House and luxury perfumery Le Labo. One person's sadness about the change is anothers excitement.
Since 2019, Austin has added 32 new buildings to its skyline, with another 28 under construction and yet another 25 in the proposal stage according to a June Downtown Austin Alliance report. In the words of the antique Austin-American Statesman in 1936, “Rip Van Winkle would have rubbed his eyes in amazement,” upon seeing the difference just 10 years can bring to the skyline.
While newcomers, especially tech executives, look forward to moving into the newest high rises, they mean big changes for long-time Austinites. The new towers mean the closure of Rainey Street favorites, as well as the 4th Street Warehouse District.
Making restaurant reservations
One of the most universal complaints about the ‘new’ Austin, from locals and visitors alike, is the need to make a reservation at most restaurants in town. This is a big change for locals that have lived here most of their life—you rarely had to make reservations pre-pandemic. And while this isn't loved by newer Austinites, it's the norm they know.
While you can still find walk-in options—think Lou’s, Taquero Mucho, Magnolia Cafe and Terry Black’s Barbecue—most restaurants with two or more dollar signs on reservation sites like Resy are likely to require a reservation… likely a month or more in advance.According to Open Table, some of the hardest places to get a reservation are celebrity hotspot Aba, James Beard Foundation Award-winning restaurant El Naranjo, Lady Bird Lake rooftop bar P6, sushi restaurant Uchi and farm-to-table restaurant Emmer & Rye. You’ll need to break out your calendar for those.
This massive development in North Austin is the go-to stop for luxury brands like Gucci, Anthropologie, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co. and Restoration Hardware. Split into two sides: The Domain and Domain NORTHSIDE. Originally opened in 2007, The Domain has changed drastically in its 15 years of business and is often called Austin’s “second downtown” but that still doesn’t change the fact that it still feels like a new area to longtime residents.Smart City apartment locator Maddie Hastings said she doesn’t often lease locals at The Domain, mostly people from out of town, and when she does, they don’t typically stay more than a year. Still, for newcomers, it's a fun development to work, eat and play.
Austin FC vs. UT
Verde has yet to stamp out that burnt orange cult following in town. Austin FC has gained a steady following despite only being on its second MLS season, but the University of Austin has strength in numbers from the hundreds of thousands of Longhorns who have graduated from the famous school living both in and outside of Austin.
Longhorns fans are often older Austnites or those that have graduated from the school. But for newer Austnites, they don't have a connection to the school and are instantly welcomed into the diverse and fresh MLS team.
That said, Austin FC and Longhorn fans seem to be peacefully coexisting, with part-owner and UT alum Matthew McConaughey saying "the more, the merrier."
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