Mayor Kirk Watson has not yet announced his re-election bid
By Austin Sanders, 5:11PM, Thu. Jan. 18, 2024
Kathie Tovo, the former City Council Member who served for more than a decade on Council first as an at-large then as a district representative, announced her campaign to be Austin’s next mayor today, Jan. 18.
City Hall insiders have long speculated that Tovo would seek the mayor’s office once her time as the District 9 CM ended. Now, she will likely face off against a formidable opponent: Mayor Kirk Watson (who has not yet announced his re-election campaign but who is expected to in the coming weeks).
“As a CM, I supported community-led policy and helped give a voice for progressive policies that would benefit all of us, not just those who want to use the city to make a profit,” Tovo wrote in the news release announcing her campaign. The statement could nod to her approach to housing policy, and echoes groups who oppose Council’s recently-adopted Housing Options for Middle-Income Empowerment (HOME) initiative.
On Council, Tovo was firmly aligned with neighborhood groups that opposed less restrictive land development regulations – often voting against dense housing developments or policies aimed at enabling more housing density across the city. Tovo’s opposition was often rooted in her view that the city should try to squeeze as much affordable housing out of such policies and projects as possible.
In the news release, Tovo also highlighted her key support in creating the Sobering Center and her work with Austin ISD as hallmarks of her Council tenure. “You can also count on me to fight against bad plans like the I-35 expansion and the State’s attacks on our local freedoms,” Tovo said.
Austin’s City Council elections will be held Nov. 5.
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