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Conservative Jennifer Virden officially announces run for Austin Mayor

District 10 challenger Jennifer Virden announces run for Austin mayor. (Jennifer Virden)

Jennifer Virden, a real estate broker and general contractor, officially announced her candidacy for mayor of Austin on Monday.

If Virden wins, she'd serve a two-year term and become the first woman mayor of the city in 40 years. Last year, in an unsuccessful run for the Austin City Council District 10— which includes northwest and West Austin—Virden lost to incumbent Alison Alter by about 9 percentage points.

"We all love Austin, and it's time to get serious about undoing the damage that is being done to our city," Virden said in a press release. "Together we can bring the competent, common sense and compassionate leadership Austin needs now more than ever."

Running on a conservative platform in liberal Austin, Virden first announced her intent to run in a series of tweets in June, when she also released a platform with four key planks:

  • Restore police budget cuts
  • End homeless camping
  • Increase the homestead tax exemption to 20%
  • Make significant revisions to the Land Development Code, for both residential and commercial

Mayor Steve Adler's final term ends in 2023, in which he has indicated he will not petition for a third term. No other candidates have entered the race yet. While there was speculation District 4 Council Member Greg Casar was considering running, he announced a bid for Congress late last week. There's also talk that others could enter the race, including personal injury lawyer Adam Loewy, State Rep. Celia Israel, former State Sen. Kirk Watson, and City Council Member Kathie Tovo.

Late last month, a federal appeals court rejected her effort to overturn a city ordinance that limits campaign fundraising to the year before an election. The mayoral hopeful argued the limit violated her First Amendment rights. But in an Oct. 25 opinion, the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals rejected the argument.

"The temporal restriction at issue does not prevent Virden from spending her own money to disseminate speech, nor does it prevent her from speaking. Virden, however, seeks money to speak 'more robustly.' But the First Amendment does not provide her that right."

With 365 days until the 2022 election, she can now receive campaign contributions and has updated her site with donation suggestions ranging from $5-$400.

Virden has been endorsed by former mayors Lee Leffingwell and Ron Mullen.


A mortgage banker walks us through the math on purchasing a 'mid-price' Austin home

So you want to buy a house?

To anyone trying to get on the "housing ladder," it's been a discouraging couple of years as prices skyrocketed in a market crowded with buyers bidding against each other for just about any available home.

Things may be calming down, with the Austin Board of REALTORS reporting fewer sales and more available homes this summer.

Mortgage rates have more than doubled in the last year, from around 3% to well over 6% on a 30-year fixed rate loan, getting even more of a bump this week after the Federal Reserve raised bank rates on Wednesday.

So how affordable are homes right now? That, of course, depends on what you want and how much you're able or willing to pay, but here are some rough estimates of what a typical buyer would pay to buy a $650,000 home, which would be considered "mid-price" in today's market.

Mortgage banker Chris Holland (NMLS 211033) of Austin's Sente Mortgage ran some numbers for Austonia to illustrate a typical purchase.

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Fall camping: Camp Fimfo Waco offers one-of-a-kind experiences in the heart of Texas
Camp Fimfo Waco

Camp Fimfo Waco, a brand new camping resort, is kicking off football and fall camping season in style! With top-notch amenities, premium accommodations, and 10 weekends of fall fun, there’s no better place to have a fall camping getaway, especially if you’re a Baylor football fan!

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