Editorial note: This article is part of a series on local candidates.
Although she accomplished a lot during her first two terms on the Austin City Council, incumbent council member Kathie Tovo said she is running for re-election, because there is still more she would still more like to get done.
“I’m really proud of what I’ve accomplished so far, but I have more work to do,” current Mayor Pro Tem Tovo said. “The city has undergone some major changes, and District 9 is at the epicenter of a lot of those. We also have some big bonds on the agenda this November, so the decisions ahead of the council are large ones. I believe this is a time that calls for experienced leadership.”
Tovo is running to represent District 9, which covers Downtown, West Campus and parts of south Austin. Her platform focuses on ending homelessness in the community and promoting affordable housing.
To combat homelessness, Tovo said she will secure more funding for initiatives she helped put in place, such as the Homeless Outreach Street Team, which connects homeless individuals with services to help them get back on their feet.
“District 9 has the highest percentage of individuals who are experiencing homelessness in the whole city,” Tovo said. “But to end homelessness we need many more millions than we currently have. I hope to partner with private businesses or social service providers, as well as encourage individual community members to come forward and help out.”
As more people move to Austin, Tovo said it is important to preserve existing housing and keep it affordable for current residents. Tovo said she will work with local officials to purchase apartment complexes with city money.
“When properties are demolished and rebuilt by private investors, it becomes more expensive to live there,” Tovo said. “By purchasing those properties, the city can ensure they stay affordable.”
Tovo said she has worked extensively with UT students in the past to address their needs, such as passing a resolution to make it easier to secure leases in West Campus last year. She also oversaw the creation of the council’s College Student Commission.
“My team has always been very active and engaged with students,” Tovo said. “I am very much about giving students’ voices a platform at the council while also moving their initiatives forward into real action that can make meaningful change. If elected, I look forward to building upon that relationship.”