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Photo by Casey Chapman-Ross for the Leslie Pool Campaign
Wednesday, November 4, 2020 by Ryan Thornton
Pool reelected to District 7
In a race against sole opponent Morgan Witt, District 7 Council Member Leslie Pool earned over two-thirds of the vote in a bid for re-election. Pool received 27,255 of the 40,530 votes counted in the District 7 race as of Tuesday night, marking her third consecutive Council victory and the start of a second full term.
“I really appreciate the strong support for my work,” Pool said during a watch party with the Travis County Democratic Party. “It’s hard work on the Council. You guys see us – it’s a pretty naked kind of representation at City Hall, so I am always grateful to see the support that I have from my neighbors.”
Witt, a political newcomer with a background in education, had received 13,275 votes in the Northwest Austin district late Tuesday.
“Well, folks, we gave this race a damn good run,” Witt tweeted after early results had been posted. “It may be over today, but the fight for a better Austin continues.”
As both candidates aligned with core values of the Democratic Party, Pool and Witt contrasted most sharply on matters of growth and housing. While Pool has sided with neighborhoods in the effort to revise the city’s Land Development Code, Witt has called for comprehensive zoning reform to meet the growing affordability and environmental challenges ahead.
Witt’s focus on creating dense and inclusive neighborhoods earned the endorsements of urbanist group AURA as well as Sunrise Movement Austin. Pool earned the endorsements of the Sierra Club, Education Austin and Central Austin Democrats. Bike Austin endorsed both candidates.
Pool was elected District 7 representative in December 2014, winning a runoff race against Jeb Boyt. Pool then defeated development-friendly challenger Natalie Gauldin, a co-founder of Friends of the Grove, in the November 2016 general election. Pool earned nearly 72 percent of the District 7 vote, with 21,411 votes, in 2016.
Other than fighting to keep Austin’s growth concentrated on major corridors, Pool has been active in Council’s efforts to reimagine public safety, provide relief to local businesses suffering from the pandemic and provide work opportunities for those experiencing homelessness.
In response to the need for social distancing, Pool also championed the city’s Shop the Block! pilot program, which eases permitting for businesses, allowing them to use the public space directly outside of their buildings.
“This has been quite the year for all candidates running for office,” Pool said. “Many challenges remain, and I look forward to continuing to represent District 7 and residents across our beloved city. My thanks to my campaign team for the big win and to my City Hall staff for making sure the D7 train always runs on time.”
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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 7: District 7 encompasses the Crestview, Allandale and Brentwood neighborhoods on the south, bounded by MoPac Boulevard and U.S. 183, and the Gracywoods, Milwood and Preston Oaks neighborhoods, sitting between Braker Lane on the south and Wells Branch Parkway on the north. Connecting the two is the Kramer Lane industrial area, including the Domain and Gateway commercial developments.