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Austin mayoral candidates working to secure votes ahead of Dec. 13 runoff election

Both Israel and Watson say it's important for people to get back out to vote in the upcoming runoff, which usually draws smaller crowds.

AUSTIN, Texas — With the runoff election coming up on Dec. 13, mayoral candidates Celia Israel and Kirk Watson are using these final weeks to get voters ready.

Both candidates note that with this election being a runoff, they expect to see much lower voter turnout, saying they hope to get as many people back out to the polls as they can.

"We've been hustling since January. And to be in a runoff, it's like it's two campaigns," said Israel.

Israel hosted a rally Sunday, Nov. 27, working to make sure people get out and vote.

"This is a really important election. New mayor, several new council members. I would just implore everybody, your vote does matter," said Israel.

For candidate and former Mayor of Austin Kirk Watson, he said this time is something he values.

"The good news, I guess, with a runoff is that you get more time to visit with voters, to reach out and touch them and hear from them," said Watson.

But where does each candidate stand on issues Austinites want solutions to, like affordable housing, public transportation, infrastructure and more?

"It's not sustainable that the nurse and the teacher who takes care of us in the heart of the city go home at night to Bastrop and Elgin," said Israel in reference to housing costs. "We have to expand our airport. We've got to decide what I-35 is going to be and how we are going to connect our city."

"We created, when I was mayor, the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. To help with this, we created the smart housing program that's used today," said Watson on affordable housing. 

"We're going to need the density and the housing along that rail line to make the line successful, but ultimately to make Austin successful," he said in reference to public transportation plans.

Israel, who's served in the state House of Representatives for years, said it's important for people to know she would bring a fresh face to city hall.

"I'm leaving the legislature not to do another task force and not to do more analysis. It's time for urgent action for working families in Austin," said Israel.

For Watson, he said his track record as the former mayor of Austin proves he would be a good fit to take office again.

"We were able to get things going, things like the first police monitor was started when I was mayor. Things like taking out certain types of environmental inequities and racism in terms of zoning in East Austin," he said.

Early voting for this race runs from Dec. 1-9.

KVUE will also be hosting a debate with the candidates on Monday, Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. You can watch it on air and on KVUE+ or YouTube.

KVUE's Ashely Goudeau sat down with both candidates before the November election. Watch the one-on-one interviews here: 

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