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Fourth candidate enters race for District 8

Tuesday, July 24, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Frank Ward, 36, threw his hat in the ring for the District 8 City Council seat on Monday with the endorsement of the current occupant of that seat, Council Member Ellen Troxclair. Troxclair, the only Republican on the dais, recently announced that she would not run for a second term. Ward joins three other candidates, all of them Democrats, in vying for the opportunity to represent Southwest Austin.

Ward is the vice president and director of client services for the Mach 1 Group, a public affairs firm. Ward said the company has numerous clients who are trade associations and nonprofits. He has previously worked for the public relations firm Public Strategies and for the Export-Import Bank of the United States. He noted that he had also worked for Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, during her career in the Texas Senate.

The candidate told the Austin Monitor that he was inspired by his mentor, former Sen. Richard Lugar, a Republican from Indiana, for whom he was an intern. Ward noted that he was student body president at Denison University in Ohio exactly 50 years after Lugar held that same position. “He was a big reason I got into government to begin with,” Ward said.

In a press release announcing his candidacy, Ward stressed three issues: tax reform, addressing traffic and reducing city regulations.

Troxclair has championed increasing the city’s homestead exemption every year she has been in office, although not successfully every year. Last year, a majority of Council declined to go along with her attempts to reduce homeowners’ taxes. This year, partially because of Council’s rejection of a pay agreement with Austin police, the majority of Council members decided there was enough money to increase the homestead exemption from 8 to 10 percent.

Ward has served as Troxclair’s appointee on the city’s Parks and Recreation Board since January. The other three candidates in the race so far are Rich DePalma, Bobby Levinski and Paige Ellis. DePalma also serves on the parks board. He was appointed by Mayor Steve Adler.

Ward lives in Circle C with his wife, Marion, and their three children.

Photo by John Flynn. This story has been corrected. Ward was student body president at Denison University, not class president, as was originally reported.

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