AUSTIN, Texas — Jennifer Virden, a native Austinite and small business owner, announced on Nov. 8 that she is running for mayor in 2022. If elected, she would become the first woman to hold the office in 40 years, according to her campaign announcement press release.
"We all love Austin, and it's time to get serious about undoing the damage that is being done to our city," Virden said in the release. "Together we can bring the competent, common-sense, and compassionate leadership Austin needs now more than ever."
Virden said she is committed to "restoring police staffing to pre-2020 levels, honestly addressing the still-unresolved homeless camping crisis, streamlining permitting for homebuilding and other development, making sensible changes to the land development code, and adequately funding the proper maintenance of our parks and green spaces at a world-class level."
In November 2020, Virden ran against incumbent Alison Alter for Austin City Council District 10, which includes parts of northwest and West Austin. In that election, Alter led a field of seven candidates with 34.76% of the vote, while Virden came in second with 25.35% of the vote.
The two then faced off in a close December 2020 runoff election, where Alter was ultimately victorious. According to Monday's press release, Virden said she came within 588 votes of unseating Alter.
"We 'made 'em look' then, and we can do it again – not just in District 10 but this time all across Austin," Virden said in the release. "I'm not a lifelong politician or a deep-pocketed attorney: I'm a small business owner putting my decades of building and restoring homes to use in building and restoring a city our Mayor and Council have done much damage to in recent years. I firmly believe our best years are ahead, and it will take a fresh voice with the right skills and experience to bring us back to where we know Austin can be."
Virden is the first officially declared candidate for the 2022 mayoral race.
She is a native Austin resident, an independent real estate broker and a remodeling general contractor. She and her husband have two grown children, both graduates of Doss Elementary School, Murchison Middle School, Anderson High School and the University of Texas at Austin's McCombs School of Business.
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