As part of introducing Austin Tech Alliance to our community’s elected officials, ATA’s executive director, David Edmonson, has been meeting with the ten Austin City Council Members and their staffs. With the 2016 election resulting in two new Council Members, this post will introduce you to one: Council Member Alison Alter. An earlier post helped you learn more about the other new Council Member, Jimmy Flannigan.
Council Member Alter represents District 10 after defeating incumbent Sheri Gallo in a runoff election on December 13. District 10 is in northwest Austin, with the majority of the district sitting west of Mopac, south of 183, and north of the Colorado River.
During her career before Council, Alter worked as a university professor, a development director, and a philanthropic consultant. She also served as the District 10 Representative for the Austin Parks and Recreation Board and chaired the We Love Ramsey Park renovation campaign.
Council Member Alter earned her Ph.D. in Political Economy and Government at Harvard University and her B.A. in Public Policy from Stanford University.
During ATA’s meeting with Council Member Alter, she spoke about the need to:
- Manage growth responsibly. Alter pledged to preserve Austin’s neighborhoods and “make growth pay for itself.” As she told Community Impact, “[w]e can act like a victim or we can proactively make choices about how and where we want to grow.” Alter has also expressed frustration over the high number of District 10’s Planned Unit Developments (PUDs), a city zoning designation that allows greater flexibility for projects, and the resulting amount of community time spent working through the PUD process.
- Get Austin moving. The implementation of the 2016 mobility bond is high on Alter’s list of issues she and her office will be involved in. The mobility bond is an opportunity to use technology as an essential tool to help address Austin’s mobility crisis, as Alter previously cited the need to incorporate “adaptive and synchronized [traffic] signaling projects … [and] collaborating with private transport innovators to prepare our infrastructure to adopt autonomous and connected vehicles.”
- Prioritize open space. Austin’s natural beauty and green spaces are some of the community’s biggest assets, and Alter believes this has helped to attract tech companies and talent to town. She wants to champion the development of more parks and open spaces to maintain what she sees as a competitive advantage over other tech hubs.
How do you think Austin’s tech community can help to solve these community challenges?
If you live in District 10, what do you think are the greatest areas of need?