With an election 10 days away, City Council candidates are trying to secure all of the votes that they can, including those from University students. Early voting started Monday and continues until May 10. Eleven candidates are running for three spots. All places are elected at-large by the entire city and each member serves a staggered three-year term.
We asked them: Why should UT students vote for you?
Chris Riley (Incumbent)
Riley was born in Austin and attended Harvard University. He attended UT’s School of Law and moved downtown after passing the bar exam in 1990. He worked as an attorney at the Texas Supreme Court for five years and cofounded the Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association. He has served on Austin’s Planning Commission and other city boards. Riley was elected to council in May 2009.
“I was born in West Campus, graduated from UT Law and still live just a few blocks away. As a lifelong Longhorn, I care deeply about issues affecting UT students, and I’m committed to ensuring that Austin’s growth raises the quality of life in the UT area and throughout the community.”
Ingalls moved to Austin in 2004. In 2006, he founded the School for All Children Act, an organization that seeks to ensure all children receive an education, and has served as its president for four years. He is an member of the Austin Gray Panthers, a group that fights for social and economic justice, and the Coalition for Community Concerns and has volunteered at the Texas Freedom Network, a state watchdog organization. Ingalls ran for mayor in 2009 and the State Board of Education in 2010 but did not win.
“UT students should vote for me because I am the only candidate for Place 1 who has been working with local organizations and groups to address local issues. I am also the only candidate in this race who is actively working to bring single-member districts to Austin.”
Norman Jacobson and Roger Chan are also running for Place 1 but could not be reached for comment.
Randi Shade (Incumbent)
Shade graduated from UT with a Plan II degree in 1988 and served as Student Government president her senior year. She is a life member of the Texas Exes. Shade was a stay-at-home mom before she ran for council and was elected in 2008.
“As a council member, I have prioritized strong city services, such as public safety and parks, and I’ve run an office that is accessible and responsive to all citizens, including UT students, faculty and staff. I have often said that ‘Nothing makes Austin, Austin more than having the 40 Acres here.’ That’s why I am often the first phone call for folks at UT needing help from the city, and it is why I am happy to serve the 60,000-person UT community.”
Tovo got her master’s and doctorate from UT, where she taught for 10 years. She has served on the Planning Commission, Austin Independent School District’s Community Committee and Neighborhood Planning subcommittees, among other city boards and task forces, including the Waller Creek Citizen Advisory Council, the Downtown Street Closure Task Force and Create Austin.
“I have been very involved in issues across our community. My main issues are keeping Austin affordable for everyone and creating communities throughout the city where people can live close to where they work, shop, go to parks and take their children to child care or school.”
Michael “Max” Nofziger
Nofziger moved to Austin in 1974 while on a hitchhiking trip from Houston to Los Angeles before running for the council four times, winning in 1987. Nofziger served on the council from 1987-2006.
“Students should vote for me because I am promoting transformational public policies which will impact students’ lives for decades in terms of clean transportation, abundant electrical energy, national security, preserving the environment and more.”
Bailey grew up in Austin and went to James Bowie High School before traveling around the world and taking classes at Austin Community College. He is an active volunteer with Texans for Accountable Government and has worked for more than 10 years as an independent insurance adjuster who handles claims for storm damage and natural disasters.
“I believe the focus of the Austin Police Department should be shifted from crimes that do not involve victims directly to crimes that do involve victims. This means they should leave people that are not harming others alone — Willie Nelson endorsed me because I said arresting people for marijuana is a waste of time and money and don’t wish to continue with those arrests. I will fight to overturn the parking meter ordinance.”
Laura Morrison (Incumbent)
Morrison was elected to council in 2008 and serves on several council committees, including the Emerging Technology and Telecommunications committee and the Audit and Finance committee.
“Laura Morrison always has the University in mind when she makes decisions at City Hall,” her campaign manager Jim Wick said. “Her husband, Phil Morrison, has been a professor here for 30 years. She believes affordability is a major issue and works to keep housing costs low for university students. Laura also opposed extending parking meter hours downtown, realizing that many students are employed there and cannot afford the extra burden of paying for parking.”
Rangel, 31, was born in Austin but grew up in Lockhart, about 30 miles away. After graduating from Texas State University, he traveled extensively. He volunteers with Dell Children’s Medical Center, the youth group at St. Ignatius Martyr Catholic Church and Habitat for Humanity.
“For far too long students haven’t voted in large numbers because they don’t feel they can relate to the men and women that supposedly serve them. I want to bring a young voice and perspective to City Hall. I want to work with and support UT students like never before. People say that whether it’s high school or college students, they just don’t care. The truth is they do care, people just don’t know what they care about. And that’s what we need to find out. I’m dedicated to working with the future leaders of this city and would be honored to represent the UT community.”
Ryan moved to Austin after high school to go to Texas State University and to intern at the alternative radio station 101X where he has held multiple on- and off-air positions.
“Anyone who cares about downtown Austin and the live music community that makes this city so special should vote for me. After 15 years in the music industry here, I’m running to give live music a voice. I’m opposed to parking rate increases, zoning changes that will make it hard to keep venues open and ever stricter sound ordinances.”