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District 9 Council Member Kathie Tovo focused on pandemic repair and affordable housing in the past two years of her term. (City of Austin)

As 2021 comes to a close, City Council Member Kathie Tovo said she’s “strongly considering” a run for mayor in 2022, according to a report from the Austin Monitor.

Though she didn’t confirm the run, Tovo is entering her final year as a District 9 representative and 12th year on City Council. Currently, candidates for mayor officially include conservative Jennifer Virden. Meanwhile, State Rep. Celia Israel has formed an exploratory committee and former State Sen. Kirk Watson has expressed interest.

Mayor Steve Adler can also petition for a third term, which he has yet to indicate, otherwise his term will end in 2023. Election day is Nov. 8, 2022.

After two of what Tovo called the hardest years on City Council in 2020 and 2021, Tovo has had plenty of time to reflect on which issues to tackle in the New Year. Alongside the rest of the world, Tovo, a Democratic council member, said her main focus has been on COVID-19 recovery.

District 9, which covers Downtown, Central Austin and South Congress, has been hit particularly hard in the pandemic. Tovo said she has been focused on business and arts sector recovery, particularly uplifting musicians, increasing equitable food access and strengthening child care options.

When Austin’s pandemic response took a pause for Winter Storm Uri, Tovo sponsored the resilience hubs initiative which will expand to all Austin neighborhoods to bring food, water and warmth in the event of another disaster.

Tovo is also focusing on reducing violent crime on Sixth Street after the last year saw increased criminal activity, including several shootings. Tovo’s solution is to foster a well-trained and fully-staffed police force.

Finally, after focusing on bringing affordable housing to the city over the last year, Tovo wants to proliferate accessory dwelling units and increase access to affordable construction loans. A resolution for ADUs is planned for January or February.

Tovo’s seat already has some competition—progressive candidate Zohaib Qadri announced his run for the District 9 seat in mid-November.


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