AUSTIN, Texas — Democratic State Rep. Celia Israel announced Tuesday that she will be running for mayor of Austin in 2022.
Israel said in September that she was considering a run for the mayoral position, but she made it official on Jan. 11.
Speakers at the announcement event included State Rep. Donna Howard; Austin NAACP President Nelson Linder; Rubén Cantú, the executive director of the University of Texas at Austin's Office of Inclusive Innovation and Entrepreneurship; UT student Sofia Reyes; and Ashley Cheng, Rouser co-founder and co-host of Texas politics podcast "The Rabble."
Israel said in her Jan. 11 announcement that there are three pillars she wants to focus on throughout her campaign and if she is elected as mayor:
- Housing and affordability
- Public health and public safety
- Transportation and mobility
"Today, my focus is on our current city, and especially those Austinites who are driving our phenomenal economy but who are getting left behind," Israel said in her remarks. "They are teaching our children, framing our houses, shopping for our groceries and so many more jobs we rely upon. We can’t be a city that just attracts billionaires while simultaneously pushing working people to Bastrop and Buda. Diversity is our strength. We need a city that serves all demographics."
Israel said that means she is not seeking re-election for her seat in the Texas House of Representatives. She said after serving four Texas legislative sessions and multiple special sessions, she is hoping for a new challenge.
Israel opened her September announcement with a quote: "My political mentor, Ann Richards, was fond of quoting one of hers. 'Any jackass can kick down a barn,' Sam Rayburn, the East Texas populist and former Speaker of the House, would say, 'but it takes a carpenter to build one.'"
"I'm ready for a new challenge where carpenters are welcome, where science and facts drive decision-making, and where compassion and respect for ordinary Texans is the norm, not the exception," she said in a statement to the media.
Austin Councilmember Kathie Tovo (District 9) has confirmed to KVUE that she is also "seriously considering" running for mayor, but she has not formally announced her candidacy. Jennifer Virden, an Austin small business owner, announced she is running for mayor back in November.
The next mayoral election will be held in November.
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