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Jo Clifton is the Politics Editor for the Austin Monitor.
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Wednesday, October 3, 2018 by Jo Clifton
Candidates in Districts 1 and 8 working hard
In City Council District 8 and District 1, incumbents Ellen Troxclair and Ora Houston are retiring. In each case, the current council member has announced her endorsement of a candidate to take her seat in January. However, that has not made the endorsement process much easier for those candidates.
Houston endorsed Vincent Harding for District 1, and he has picked up 10 club endorsements, by far the largest number of any of the candidates in this race. Harding, of course, is the former chair of the Travis County Democratic Party.
Also getting a few organizational nods are Natasha Harper-Madison, president of the East 12th Street Merchants Association, and Mariana Salazar, who works for the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition. The other candidates include Mitrah Avini, Lewis Conway Jr. and Reedy Spigner. There’s also a write-in candidate, Misael Ramos.
Some groups have not been able to select from among the list and some have decided to wait until after the November election in anticipation of a December runoff, which seems pretty likely given such a large field.
The groups endorsing Harding include the Austin Neighborhoods Council; American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 1620; Austin Tejano Democrats; Capital Area Progressive Democrats; Communications Workers of America Local 6132; Laborers’ International Union of North America; Austin Regional Chapter of the Sierra Club; University Democrats and the Austin Asian American Political Action Committee.
The Liberal Austin Democrats and AURA have endorsed Harper-Madison. The Texas Alliance of Retired Americans has endorsed Salazar. The Austin Monitor is not aware of endorsements from other organizations, although some are still pending.
Conway has been endorsed locally by Worker’s Defense Action Fund and the Austin Chapter of Democratic Socialists of America and United Here Local 23. Conway also is the only candidate to be endorsed by The Working Families party, which is a national organization.
In Southwest Austin’s District 8, Rich DePalma, Paige Ellis and Bobby Levinski are competing for endorsements of various Democratic clubs. The other candidate in the race is Republican Frank Ward.
DePalma is a consultant who serves on both the Parks and Recreation Board and the Downtown Commission. He has served as president of Austin Environmental Democrats and is currently on the board of directors of TreeFolks.
Ellis is a marketing and public involvement specialist for an environmental consulting firm who lists a number of environmental organizations she has helped. Levinski is a staff attorney at the Save Our Springs Alliance. Prior to attending law school, Levinski worked in the offices of Council members Jennifer Kim, Laura Morrison and Kathie Tovo.
Troxclair endorsed Ward and he has won the endorsement of the Travis County Republican Party. Like DePalma, Ward serves on the city’s Parks and Recreation Board.
DePalma’s endorsements include the South Austin Democrats, Circle C Democrats, Capital Area Progressive Democrats, Central Austin Democrats and University Democrats. The latter two groups make up the Austin Progressive Coalition.
DePalma also has won endorsements from Tejano Democrats, Austin Young Democrats, the Asian American PAC and AURA.
Levinski has endorsements from the Central Labor Council, Austin Neighborhoods Council and the Austin Regional Group of the Sierra Club, as well as AFSCME, LiUNA, the Workers Defense Action Fund, the Texas Alliance of Retired Americans, and the Victory Fund, which seeks to help LGBT candidates.
Photo by John Flynn. This post has been updated to include Conway’s endorsements.
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Key Players & Topics In This Article
District 1: District 1 is one of the largest districts by area created by the commission, being bounded by Interstate 35, bumps up against Pflugerville on the north, SH 130 on the east and reaches down into the eastern parts of downtown and the University of Texas campus. It includes a variety of neighborhoods, such as Copperfield, Harris Branch, University Hills, Colony Park and Rosewood. It also contains Decker Lake Park and some of the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction.
District 8: District 8 contains three distinct neighborhoods, Oak Hill, Circle C and Travis Country. The district is bounded on the east by Brodie Lane, on the south by the Travis-Hays county line, on the north by Bee Cave road and on the west by the winding Austin city limits line. It also has the city’s biggest and most infamous traffic bottleneck – the Oak Hill Y, the convergence of US 290 and SH 71, squeezing traffic heading to and from South MoPac Boulevard and out into the Hill Country.