City Council Races Gear Up

September 28, 2016 by Kate Harrington

In this unforgettable election year, it may be easy to focus on the Presidential race – or shut out politics altogether – but Austin voters will also be asked to weigh in on several City Council seats come November 8.

Five council positions in Austin’s 10-1 City Council are up for election on Nov. 8: districts 2, 4, 6, 7, and 10. The incumbent councilmembers in those seats are Delia Garza, Greg Casar, Don Zimmerman, Leslie Pool and Sheri Gallo, and each is facing at least one opponent.

In-person candidate forums have already begun, and will run through the end of September. Friends of Austin Neighborhoods is also hosting a series of forums on that will run through early October.

District 7’s race is shaping up to be one of the most contentious. Incumbent Leslie Pool and challenger Natalie Gauldin are facing off, and issues around development – especially the Grove – are looming large in this race.

Gauldin is a backer of The Grove, a mixed use development planned to take shape on former State-owned land at Bull Creek Road and 45th Street that is seeking PUD status. There have been numerous neighborhood concerns over the traffic impact of that project. Gauldin says the traffic projections and plans for that capacity are sound.

Pool has stated that she has concerns about the Grove and traffic, and is also the co-founder of the Bull Creek Road Coalition, a group that supports the project’s proposed dense residential development but opposes plans to build 360,000 square feet of office and retail space.

In District 6, candidates are also locked in a lively battle. Incumbent Don Zimmerman is again facing Jimmy Flannigan as a rival. In a mid-September forum that drew nearly 100 people, the two argued over Zimmerman’s controversial statements, the City’s $720 million mobility bond, and conservation.

To learn more about the upcoming City Council elections, district lines, and the candidates, click here.

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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.