To help Austin’s tech sector learn more about the candidates running for Austin Mayor and City Council, Austin Tech Alliance sent each candidate a questionnaire. The results are now live on informed.vote, the new ATA and Leadership Austin website built to help Central Texan’s cast an informed vote at the ballot box.
After soliciting feedback from our members, we asked the candidates a series of questions on issues that matter to tech employees – including affordability, housing, mobility, and the continued growth of Austin’s tech sector.
Here is a sampling of questions and portions of candidates’ answers:
Question: How will you address Austin’s housing shortage? What regulations will you change to allow more housing where people want to live?
- Mariana Salazar, District 1 candidate: “I believe our city’s top priority in order to address the housing shortage should be creating new housing, by investing city funds to preserve, build and create more subsidized housing opportunities for our low-income residents and families and by allowing the market to build new units targeted to different income levels and different household sizes.”
- Justin Jacobson, District 3 candidate: “We need smaller lot sizes and the ability to build more units on them. The ability to have and process to build Accessory Dwelling Units should be much simpler. Major transit/activity corridors should be hotbeds of dense mixed use developments. Our permitting process should be streamlined to lessen delays for new development.”
- Rich DePalma, District 8 candidate: “Fix the land development code so that multifamily homes and other housing solutions can be implemented. More types of housing will allow for varying incomes and affordability.”
Question: What is your vision for the future of high capacity transit in Austin?
- Natasha Harper-Madison, District 1 candidate: I believe the best way to add high capacity transit is to track the bus routes with top ridership. Right now, those are found in the Guadalupe-Lamar corridor. I would support a high capacity rail line along that street, as a central spine of Austin’s future transit system.
- Danielle Skidmore, District 9 candidate: For the sake of our environment, we finally need to go big on public transportation. That means embracing technology to ensure faster, safer movement around our city, but also going back to the basics: a robust bus service, and sidewalks that that allow our citizens to walk (or roll) to where they need to be.
- Mayor Steve Adler, mayoral candidate: The most critical element of a high capacity transit system is that we need dedicated pathways that aren’t shared with cars. Whether it is automated electric buses or light rail, we need to consider all of the options and the relative cost of each.
Question: What do you see as the City’s responsibility toward addressing the digital divide in Austin, and what steps would you take to bridge that divide?
- Vincent Harding, District 1 candidate: Working with local school districts to ensure that young people have access to technology is key. Additionally, making sure there are high quality technology in libraries and community centers in each City Council District.
- Ann Kitchen, District 5 candidate: The city has a responsibility to address the digital divide in Austin, and work with community nonprofits like Austin FreeNet to address barriers to technology access. The 10–1 Council could benefit from an update to the 2014 Digital Inclusion Strategic Plan, to identify additional steps we should be taking to effectively implement this plan..
- Laura Morrison, mayoral candidate: Addressing the digital divide falls squarely within the city’s responsibility to foster the health and welfare of Austin residents, and ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to thrive. It is increasingly difficult to participate in any aspect of modern life without a working knowledge of, and access to, digital devices.