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 help to introduce you to one: Council Member Jimmy Flannigan. A subsequent post will help you learn more about the other new Council Member, Alison Alter.
Council Member Flannigan represents District 6 after defeating incumbent Don Zimmerman in the November 2016 general election. District 6 sits in the northwest portion of Austin’s city limits, bringing in portions of both Travis and Williamson Counties, and it includes large tech campuses like Apple, Oracle, and LegalZoom.
Flannigan brings two decades of tech experience to City Council, having run a local web development and database management company for the past 19 years. He earned a BBA in Management Information Systems from The University of Texas at Austin and an MBA from University of Phoenix.
Prior to his election, he c0-founded and served as the lead organizer for the Northwest Austin Coalition, which works to support leaders in Northwest Austin and address community needs via collaboration, communication, and education. He also previously served as president of the Austin Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and regional chair of the national organization.
During ATA’s meeting with Council Member Flannigan, he emphasized addressing the mobility and traffic concerns prevalent across the city. In particular, he pointed out a few opportunities:
- With CodeNEXT, the ongoing revision of the city’s Land Development Code, Flannigan wants to combine land use and transportation planning efforts to ensure infrastructure matches the current and future needs of residents and businesses.
- He wants to focus road and public transit infrastructure on connected corridors and end the practice of planning distinct nodes without considering their connectivity.
- Flannigan believes city policies should support a robust, fair, and competitive marketplace for a variety of private transportation options like transportation network companies (TNCs).
Regarding affordability, Flannigan argued that increasing the housing supply is the most powerful tool to curtail rising rents. Flannigan identified as the only renter on City Council, allowing him to provide a perspective shared by more than half of Austin residents.
Flannigan also talked about the need to raise the level of civic engagement in northwest Austin — both for the tech community and Austinites in general. Far too often, elections see a significant dropoff rate on down ballot races. In other words, folks will vote for candidates at the top of their ballot — typically President or Governor — but fail to vote in local races, despite the immense impact they have on our daily lives.
How do you think Austin’s tech community can help to solve these community challenges?
If you live in District 6, what do you think are the greatest areas of need?