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Chavez announces run against Spelman for Place 5 Council seat

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 by Austin Monitor

Dominic Chavez, spokesman for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, announced Tuesday that he plans to run against incumbent Place 5 Council Member Bill Spelman in this May’s election.


Chavez, a Republican activist and Iraq war veteran, criticized the current City Council and Austin Energy in a news release. Chavez was a spokesman for Austinites for Action, a group led by former Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn that criticized Austin Energy’s generation plan.


Chavez and Strayhorn also teamed up with road warrior Jim Skaggs and developer Ed Wendler Jr. to oppose the 2010 transportation bonds. Wendler is now Chavez’ campaign treasurer.


Last year, Chavez joined former Texas Monthly publisher Mike Levy and Democratic political consultant Alfred Stanley to sue the City of Austin over automatic abatements for buildings designated historic. The trio reached a settlement with the city so that owners of historic buildings must now demonstrate need for the tax break.


“Like so many people in Austin, I am increasingly underwhelmed by the choice of candidates, frustrated with the lack of geographic representation, and wish city hall’s priorities matched those of the real community,” Chavez said in a news release. “If nothing else, I intend to restore common sense to city hall.”


Chavez has worked as a public affairs professional for more than a decade in the private and public sector, including a stint with the Real Estate Council of Austin (RECA). His areas of expertise include transportation, education, and economic development. 


He is a veteran, having served stateside for Operation Enduring Freedom after 9/11 as well as in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. During his time in Iraq, he worked with the U.S. Army’s cultural and tribal affairs operations focused on facilitating talks between Sunni tribes and the predominately Shiite central government. 


Chavez also says he has served as president of the Castlewood-Oak Valley Neighborhood Association in far South Austin. 


Spelman, who is a professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, is an expert on community policing and other matters related to criminal justice. He served one term on the Council from 1997-2000 and decided to run again in 2009, when he ran unopposed. The other announced candidate in the race is Tina Cannon.

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