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Mark Richardson is a multimedia journalist, editor and writer who has worked in digital, print and broadcast media for three decades. He is a nationally recognized editor and reporter who has covered government, politics and the environment. A journalism graduate from the University of Texas at Austin, he was recently awarded a Foundation for Investigative Journalism grant and has three Associated Press Managing Editors awards for excellence in reporting.
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Republican voters likely to dominate District 6 elections
As Austin neighborhoods go, those drawn into District 6 are farthest from City Hall, certainly in distance, and perhaps in philosophy.
In fact, District 6 is the only one of the 10 new political subdivisions that voted solidly Republican in the 2012 General Election. There was no fence sitting like in a couple of the other West Austin districts – this district voted more than 60 percent for Mitt Romney.
District 6 covers the far northwest parts of the city, including the Anderson Mill, River Place, Avery Ranch, Riata and Robinson Ranch neighborhoods. The area is bisected east to west by SH 45/RM 620 and north-south by US 183 and RM 2222. The southern end of the district hugs neighborhoods along Lake Austin and the south shore of Lake Travis.
A large portion of District 6 is actually in Williamson County. In fact, the Anderson Mill area was only annexed into the city in 2008, meaning that a lot of those residents are not yet comfortable being Austin citizens. Having their own Council district could help change that.
Statistically, the district is 64.4 percent white and 15.1 percent Hispanic. Though it is not considered a “district of opportunity,” it is the district with the largest number of Asian American citizens with 13.3 percent.
District 6 is the largest by size at about 48 square miles, and it is one of lowest in population density. However, it showed the largest population growth of any of the 10 districts between 2000 and 2010, increasing by 49 percent.
Median family income in the area is $88,000, putting it well above the overall city ($49,800) but below income levels in other parts of west and northwest Austin. The poverty rate is a low 7.1 percent, with home ownership at 46.8 percent.
Four people are running to represent District 6, including Jimmy Flannigan, Matt Stillwell, Lloyd “Pete” Phillips and Jay Wiley.
Flannigan, 36, owns Site Street, an online Internet marketing business. He is a longtime Anderson Mill resident and a co-founder and organizer of the Northwest Austin Coalition. He is the former president of the Austin Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, and has worked with the Greater Austin Chamber Transportation Committee over the past few years. Flannigan graduated from the University of Texas in 2001 with a B.A. from the McCombs School of Business and completed an online MBA in e-Business through the University of Phoenix.
His campaign focuses on fiscal responsibility, with concerns about traffic congestion, housing affordability and what he says on his website are “Austin’s bureaucratic road-blocks to small businesses.”
Stillwell, 38, owns an independent insurance agency and co-owns a marketing firm. He has lived in Austin since 1990, in various areas of the city, having lived in the District 6 area for eight years. Stillwell has participated in various Round Rock ISD boards, including the Bond Oversight Committee and School Health Advisory Council. He currently participates in his neighborhood’s Architectural Control Committee. He ran for State Representative for District 136 in 2012, but lost to Rep. Tony Dale. He graduated with a BFA in Art Education in 1998 from Texas Tech, and will be a 2014 graduate from the Leadership Austin Essential Class.
Stillwell is campaigning around environmental responsibility, with concerns about water, wildfire prevention, responsible job growth and transportation.
Phillips, 45, is director of threat analysis, force protection/counter-terrorism and is a Special Security Officer for the Texas National Guard. He also sits on the joint Federal/State Anti-terrorism Force Protection Working Group, examining potential threats to the Central Texas Corridor. He has a BS in Political Science from Eastern New Mexico University. Phillips joined the U.S. Marine Corps as an officer in 1992 and has an extensive military career. He has toured in Yugoslavia and northern Africa with the U.S. Navy, worked for the Secretary of Defense Legislative Fellows Program, served as a legislative assistant to District 13 U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry and worked with the U.S. Department of Defense Homeland Security Task Force.
His main campaign issues are education, affordability and transportation.
Wiley, 37, is an entrepreneur and non-practicing licensed attorney. He is a former Republican campaign manager and congressional aide, including serving under former President George W. Bush. He has also served as a chief of staff in the Texas House of Representatives, a fellow with the Texas Public Policy Foundation and Republican precinct chair with the Travis County Republican Party. Wiley graduated from The Citadel in South Carolina and has a law degree from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. He has lived in the Austin area for nine years and currently lives in River Place.
Wiley is running on a pro-business, limited government campaign, and is standing on a platform of ending the plastic bag ban, eliminating waste, business deregulation, road infrastructure and tax relief. He has pledged to never vote for a tax increase and advocate for audits at every level of local government.
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Key Players & Topics In This Article
Austin City Council November 2014 Elections: The November 2014 Austin City Council elections marked a shift from an all-at-large City Council to one elected based mostly on geographic districts. The city's Mayor remains elected at-large.