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Council says goodbye to Casar

Friday, February 4, 2022 by Jo Clifton

In the past, a City Council member leaving office was often greeted with a cake, small gifts and fond words. Council Member Greg Casar, whose last meeting was Thursday, got many kind words but little else. The pandemic was reason enough not to throw a party, but the ice storm left scant room for celebration. Casar is leaving his seat to seek the Democratic nomination for Texas Congressional District 35, and José “Chito” Vela will be sworn in to the District 4 position on Monday. Mayor Steve Adler praised Casar as a member of the original 10-1 Council, saying he helped fulfill the promise of change, equity and access that voters envisioned when they voted for the district system. He listed some major accomplishments that Casar helped shepherd through the system, such as increased benefits and wages for city employees and multiple efforts to help low-income Austinites. Other members of Council chimed in, praising Casar for his energy, stamina and willingness to work with others even when they were not ideologically aligned. While Casar said he wasn’t quite ready for the tributes, he responded with thanks. “I feel very moved and touched with what you have said and what people in the community said and I have been so honored to get to be a part of this …. We’re all really just one family.” Casar said his seven years on the Council were “an experiment in democracy.” His was one of the loudest voices in pushing the city to take the claims of sexual assault victims seriously, and last week, the city finally settled with a group of survivors who sued to force the city to change its practices. Casar concluded by telling his colleagues, “I’m so grateful to you because I know how much it takes to do this work … it’s been a great honor to work alongside all of you and this community.”

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