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Jo Clifton is the Politics Editor for the Austin Monitor.
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Wednesday, November 4, 2020 by Jo Clifton
Fuentes coasts to victory in District 2
Political newcomer Vanessa Fuentes was headed toward a victory in the District 2 race Tuesday night after the early vote was counted, showing her with more than 56 percent of the vote. Her two competitors, David Chincanchan and Casey Ramos, each had less than 20 percent of the vote. A fourth candidate, Alex Strenger, had stopped campaigning and endorsed Ramos; however, Strenger’s name was still on the ballot and he received about 5 percent of the vote.
After the first batch of Election Day votes was added to the early votes, Fuentes had 12,117 votes, compared to about 4,200 for Ramos and less than 4,000 for Chincanchan. Chincanchan had support from numerous Democratic clubs and had served as chief of staff to Council Member Pio Renteria. Fuentes won the endorsement of the Austin American-Statesman and the EMS employees union.
Fuentes will be taking over the seat currently held by Delia Garza, who was elected to be the next Travis County attorney without an opponent on the ballot Tuesday. In a Facebook Live post, Fuentes gave credit to Garza, the first Latina elected to Austin’s City Council. She noted that with her election she would continue the Latina perspective on Council.
Fuentes, who spent the last six years working for the American Heart Association, made health care for the residents of District 2, one of the poorer districts in the city, an important part of her campaign. She promised to work hard to bring more health care options to the district. “I got into this race because of the ‘health divide’ we have here in Austin,” she said. In her ZIP code, Fuentes said, her life expectancy is 10 years less than it would be if she lived in West Austin.
Fuentes also expressed concern about the disproportionate number of people in her district who have contracted Covid-19. She promised to work hard on that and other health issues.
Fuentes supported Proposition A, saying that she believed it would help her community. She will fit in with the rest of the Council members, all of whom supported Project Connect.
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Key Players & Topics In This Article
Austin City Council: The Austin City Council is the body with legislative purview over the City of Austin. It offers policy direction, while the office of the City Manager implements administrative actions based on those policies. Until 2012, the body contained seven members, including the city's Mayor, all elected at-large. In 2012, City of Austin residents voted to change that system and now 10 members of the Council are elected based on geographic districts. The Mayor continues to be elected at-large.
District 2: District 2 is primarily south and east of Ben White Boulevard and east of Interstate 35. Its two major landmarks are Austin Bergstrom International Airport and the Circuit of the America’s Formula 1 race track. Its eastern edge blends into the southeast portions of Travis County.