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Garza, Casar easily win re-election

Wednesday, November 9, 2016 by Jo Clifton

District 4 City Council Member Greg Casar, the youngest member ever elected to the City Council, claimed another victory last night, beating two opponents who seemed almost invisible.

District 2 Council Member Delia Garza – Council’s first Latina, elected during her first run for office in 2014 – also easily defeated two opponents who were barely visible during the campaign.

Casar took nearly 65 percent of the early vote, compared to about 15 percent for Louis Herrin and 20 percent for Gonzalo Camacho.

Garza had garnered 66 percent of the vote, with Casey Ramos bringing in about 18 percent and Wesley Faulkner winning about 15 percent as of 10 p.m. last night.

The Austin Monitor asked Casar whether the lack of a strong opponent was due to his own effectiveness as a Council member. Casar responded, “That’s what I hope that means. I have worked to represent the interests, the voices in my district, especially working people, which is what I promised to do. And there were certainly some people who have been opposed to the work that I’ve done, whether they live in my district or not – and that’s a good thing because if it were easy and there were no opposition, then I wouldn’t need to be on the Council doing it.”

As for the future, he said, “I’m excited about being able to continue to build a movement of people” who want to work on “integrating our city economically and building affordable housing and working on civil rights and workers’ rights – the issues I care most about.”

Before joining Council in 2014, Casar was a leader in the Workers Defense Project. In the November 2014 election, he faced seven opponents, including Laura Pressley.

Casar beat Pressley in the December 2014 runoff, but rather than concede, she sued him over alleged voting irregularities. Casar won the case at the trial court, and Pressley appealed to the 3rd Court of Appeals. That case is still pending and may not be decided by the time Casar is sworn in for his second term in January 2017.

Garza, a former firefighter and attorney, told the Monitor, “I’m very happy that we won. I think we just continue what we started, dealing with affordable housing, food access – and I’m really interested in what we can do to get people out of their cars and make our public transit more reliable.

“I’m really honored that the voters of District 2 have given me an opportunity to continue to serve them, and I hope to continue to build the progressive policies we’ve already started on. My goal has been to keep our working families here, and that will continue to be my goal,” she said.

Casar’s District 4 had a poverty rate of 31 percent as of 2013 and a median family income of $39,200. That is just slightly less than the average income in Garza’s District 2, which was about $42,650, and about the same as Council Member Ora Houston’s District 1, which had a poverty rate of 27.6 percent.

Photo by Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT.

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