AUSTIN, TEXAS - When a passionate community activist became District 4's City Council Member, he brought new energy to council chambers. At 25-years old, Greg Casar was the youngest person elected to the council.
"Looking back, I'm most proud of the variety of voices we've been able to lift up at City Hall. We got people that were formerly incarcerated involved in city politics asking for anti-discrimination ordinances which we've passed," Casar said.
The "ban the box" ordinance is actually one of the things that prompted Texas Commission on Environmental Quality engineer Louis Herrin, III to run against Casar.
"Some people aren't going to like this but I hire people all the time," said Herrin. "It's like why am I going to waste somebody's time if it comes down to the pack, I can not hire this person because of X, Y or Z."
The Texas A&M graduate moved to Austin in 1981 and says he's tired of "business as usual" politics.
"I'm tired of the way the city's being run," said Herrin. "The city wastes a lot of money, we get involved in a lot of things we shouldn't. If I get elected, I want to get back to the basics."
Focusing on "fundamentals" is also the objective of Gonzalo Camacho. The traffic engineer moved to Austin in 2010 with plans to retire in the Capitol City.
"I realized I cannot retire in Austin because the rate of property taxes is going up every year, it's just never stop working. So I was looking at going somewhere else, you know for retirement, and then I thought, well why not try running for city council and see if we can make some changes," said Camacho.
All three men say crime is a big concern in District 4, which is made up of north and northeast Austin, but when it comes to the most pressing issue residents face, they all see things a bit differently.
"Property taxes," said Camacho. "I think that's the most critical one because where I live is my commitment to my community. If I'm priced out of my house, I cannot commit my time to the community."
Herrin said there are several issues in different parts of the district.
"You've got one part that's really being gentrified right now where the taxes are really going up because of the land value and it's to me what does the district want to do right there," Herrin said.
"More than anything else I hear that they want a voice at City Hall," said Casar. "For too long District 4 was not a place where lots of political candidates and elected officials went and talked to groups of people and so I think that the issues our district faces can best be addressed by helping the people in District 4 have access to political power."
Who will hold that power? That's now in the hands of voters
Click here to read more about Greg Casar, incumbent
Click here to read more about Gonzalo Camacho
Click here to read more about Louis Herrin, III
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