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Bazan, Alter set for runoff in District 5

Tuesday, November 8, 2022 by Jo Clifton

Six candidates lined up this year to take the seat held by retiring City Council Member Ann Kitchen, who has served District 5 since 2015. When the votes were counted on Tuesday, the two candidates whose campaigns emphasize streamlining development regulations, including compatibility standards to speed up building new housing, remained in the ring.

Stephanie Bazan and Ryan Alter will face off in the Dec. 13 runoff for the South Austin seat. Bazan led with more than 29 percent of the vote, followed by Alter, who had more than 24 percent of that same vote. In third place was Ken Craig, Kitchen’s longtime aide, who had about 19 percent of the vote.

Candidates Bill Welch, Aaron Velazquez Webman and Brian Anderson came in fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively.

Reached at her campaign party, Bazan said she would immediately start work getting out her “great coalition of supporters” to the polls for the runoff election. When asked for her first order of business upon taking office, she said, “The first thing I’m going to work on is what I’ve been talking about all along, and that is housing and making sure people can stay in this beautiful city. I’m really just proud of the campaign we ran and I am thankful.”

Alter told the Austin Monitor, “If you look at who’s in the top two spots (in this race) clearly South Austinites want a little different direction. They want someone who is more pro-housing, more pro-transit and has that forward vision, and I think the way we get over the top is talking about that issue, especially housing affordability and showing what we have to offer. I have thought about these issues, have real plans and have the experience to show up and get it done.”

Neither candidate expressed any negative feelings about their opponent, with Alter specifically saying he liked Bazan. Though the Council race is nonpartisan, both candidates are staunch Democrats.

As the Monitor previously reported, Bazan serves on the steering committee of the Austin Community Foundation’s Hispanic Impact Fund. She worked on the 2020 U.S. Census and helped her neighbors by distributing gloves and face masks during the pandemic.

Alter has worked as a policy analyst for former Sen. Kirk Watson and Sen. Juan Hinojosa. He has expressed frustration about what he calls Kitchen’s “incremental” approach to solving the housing affordability crisis.

He has won the endorsement of The Austin Chronicle and Austin American-Statesman, as well as the Real Estate Council of Austin, Advancing DemocracyPAC and TREPAC, the Texas real estate political action committee.

Bazan has been endorsed by the urbanist group AURA, Friends of Austin Neighborhoods, Habla y Vota Action Fund and Home Builders Association of Greater Austin.

The City Council runoff election is scheduled for Dec. 13.

Photo of Stephanie Bazan by Tomas Segura; photo of Ryan Alter courtesy of his campaign.

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