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Cavazos and Riley discuss creating jobs in East Austin

Thursday, March 12, 2009 by Austin Monitor

At the Democratic club debate Wednesday night, Gary Cobb of the Black Austin Democrats asked Place 1 candidates Perla Cavazos and Chris Riley what they could do about the obstacles facing Austin’s African American community. Riley argued that the city should focus on creating “green collar jobs” in East Austin, and Cavazos suggested breaking up city contracts so that small contractors could compete.

 

Riley said “green collar jobs” are essentially “blue collar jobs that are environmentally responsible,” such as weatherizing and installing solar panels on roofs. Riley said the Austin Technology Incubator at the University of Texas was “very interested in pursuing an East Austin summertime boot camp,” which would take students of certain academic achievement levels and guarantee them summer jobs working for tech companies. “There’s a lot we can do,” he concluded.

 

Cavazos said breaking down city contracts into smaller pieces would allow minority and women owned businesses to be more competitive in contract bids, and make it easier to achieve the MWBE goals. “A lot of people here in Austin, in the African-American and other communities, are very entrepreneurial folks,” she said. “I think there’s a great chance to expand jobs in the community.” The group voted to endorse Cavazos.

 

Riley and Cavazos are the only candidates vying to replace Council Member Lee Leffingwell, who is running for Mayor. Whoever wins the May 9 election will take office shortly thereafter.

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