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Attorney announces he's running to replace Greg Casar's council seat

Greg Casar has represented the district for three terms.

AUSTIN, Texas — Jose "Chito" Vela, an Austin immigration and criminal defense attorney, has announced his candidacy for the 2022 special election for Austin City Council District 4. Greg Casar has represented the district for three terms.

Casar announced on Nov. 4 that he is running for Texas Congressional District 35, currently served by U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Austin), who will run for the new Texas Congressional District 37

Vela announced his candidacy for District 4 during a Nov. 9 event at the Windsor Park Branch of the Austin Public Library.

"My No. 1 priority on city council: We must make sure that Austin is a welcoming city for working-class people, not a playground for the wealthy," Vela said at the event.

RELATED: Austin Council Member Greg Casar announces run for Congress

Vela is originally from Laredo, Texas, according to his professional biography. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor's in history in 1995, a master's in public affairs in 1999 and a law degree in 2004. 

After law school, Vela worked in the Open Records Division of the Texas Attorney General’s Office, then as general counsel to Texas State Rep. Solomon Ortiz, Jr. In 2011, he started his own law practice before joining forces with Jennifer Walker Gates in 2013 to form Walker Gates Vela.

Vela has served on the City of Austin Planning Commission and as board chair for Workers Defense Project. In 2018, he ran for Texas House District 46.

Casar will remain on the council until after next year's special election when a new council member will be sworn in.

WATCH: Austin Councilmember Greg Casar announces run for Congress 


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