Austin’s Election Season Starts Heating Up

September 6, 2014 by Kate Harrington

The countdown to November elections is on, and if you’re a political junkie, this fall promises to be interesting.

Public candidate forums have started up in each district – with some districts opting for hyper-local forums held in different ends of the district – and plenty more are on the calendar.

Among them are several series focused on specific sectors or interests. The Austin Creative Alliance (ACA), Austin Music People (AMP), and the Austin Technology Council (ATC) are co-hosting a series of candidate forums focused on the creative sector, with the first of those forums taking place on September 9.

The Austin Chronicle is teaming up with KUT-FM, KXAN-TV, Univision, and the Austin Monitor to host a free series of 10-1 City Council candidate forums called Ballot Boxing. Those will start on September 8 with a District 1 forum, and run through October 15.

Also on September 8, the American Institute of Architects Austin and Austin Associated General Contractors will host a mayoral candidate forum for the “design and construction community to share information with the mayoral candidates on the most crucial issues” facing that industry in Austin.

And several local organizations are hosting a series of candidate forums on issues related to Austin Energy, where candidates will answer questions related to energy sources, affordability, and governance of Austin Energy. That series begins on September 12, and will run through September 29.

The Austin Chronicle has a complete listing of scheduled forums here.

Meanwhile, campaigning for and against the massive bond proposal, Proposition 1, has gone into high gear. The $1 billion bond package would go toward a light rail line and road improvements. The Let’s Go Austin Political Action Committee has been busy sending flyers and posting signs with the slogan “Traffic Bites. Bite Back,” and has garnered support from the Real Estate Council of Austin, the Downtown Austin Alliance, and the Congress for New Urbanism Central Texas chapter, among others.

In the “against” camp, groups like Austinites for Urban Rail Action and Our Rail – both of which are pro-transit – have come out in opposition to the Proposition 1 bond package. Both support more transit in the city, and Our Rail specifically supports the idea of a light rail system that would run on the Guadalupe-North Lamar Corridor. But both feel the current plan is not an effective mobility solution, in terms of expense and ridership.

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Written by Kate Harrington

Kate is a former reporter, most recently for the Austin Business Journal, where she covered real estate, economic development and transportation. Since 2010 she has been running Thumbtack Communications. Thumbtack provides writing, editing and marketing services. Before moving to Austin in 2002 Kate lived in her native New England, which she still visits often to escape the Texas heat.