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Let the Center4ATX Games begin

Tuesday, March 20, 2018 by Katy McElroy

The first ATXelerator City Council candidate training program cohort is wrapping up. Twenty-five men and women participated in the program, which is run by a local nonprofit, the Center for Austin’s Future. Participants attended a weekend retreat in January, which included sessions on Austin’s history and future, advice on how to run a campaign, a speech by state Sen. Kirk Watson and an electric bike tour of downtown Austin. The retreat was followed by eight weekly education sessions on topics such as city government, transportation, utilities and diversity. Now, the program culminates with the Center4ATX Games competition. The first round of the competition is taking place today and tomorrow. In this round, each participant will give a four-minute pitch about why they are the best candidate to represent Austin. Based on these pitches, the pool will be whittled down to eight finalists. Each of these finalists will be given a policy problem to develop a two-minute response to over the next week. A public event will showcase the second and third rounds of the competition on Thursday, March 29, at the North Door at 5:30 p.m. The second round will proceed as a mock Council meeting, where each semifinalist will present the solution to their problem and try to pass an ordinance to solve it. Former Austin city politicians, such as Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell, and other pre-selected speakers, will help facilitate the action. Based on these proceedings, a panel of four judges will choose three finalists to participate in the third round. In this final round, each finalist will be given a question, and the winner will be determined based on the responses to this question. The grand prize is $500, and the other two finalists each receive $250. Audience members will be able to vote for their pick, but the judges’ choice rules.

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