Off and Running, By: Ora Houston

Six months ago, I stood before a gathering of my friends and neighbors and asked for their support as I officially announced my intention to become the first city council member for District #1.

Together, we worked hard to achieve that goal! Look at what WE accomplished on November 4th! Over 6,000 friends and neighbors voted to make that goal a reality - we fell a few votes short - so now we kick start our campaign for the election on December 16th.

To those who didn't get a chance to vote, or voted for someone else, I look forward to getting to know you.

I want to thank everyone, from the bottom of my heart, who voted in this historic election. I know you love this district, this city, and the people who call Austin home, as much as I do.

The history of my activism in this city demonstrates that I am not part of the status quo. I have always been a public servant, not a politician. My goal has been - and will continue to be - to bring the reality of 'regular' folks into the decisions and the solutions made by city government. There are many unintended and negative consequences when everyone doesn't get a seat at the table and it is time to change that.

We have a common goal to develop an Austin that is prosperous for the collective. In order to reach that goal, we must be aware of the history, (of our growth) as we actively work in the present to create a future that is unique and inclusive. We must create space for all people to participate in the conversations and decisions which affect the quality of their lives.

We are a 'blended family' composed of a mosaic of cultures, income levels, beliefs, ethnicities, ideas, educational achievements, languages and interests.

We MUST work together.

From the beginning of this process I have listened as you have shared your hopes, dreams and concerns regarding a variety of issues which city government has not dealt with effectively. You know the list:

  • escalating property taxes (residential and small business);

  • unplanned growth;

  • working class jobs and job training in the district;

  • quality education for our children in the public schools;

  • workforce housing all over Austin;

  • ending traffic congestion downtown;

  • an efficient bus system throughout the district and the city;

  • a sense of community and peaceful neighborhoods;

  • add your issues to the list.

Changes are necessary and they are possible as we move forward in a more inclusive and planned way. Yet, I cannot do it alone. Everyone must continue to be engaged in the process.

We have a bit further to go, (but not too far.) Early voting begins December 1st.

This is not a rest stop. This is an energy break before full steam ahead to December 16th.

I am so very grateful for the continuing hard work, perseverance and commitment of the members of Team Ora. Without them I would not have been able to make it this far:

  • Jonathan Panzer

  • Matt Harvey

  • Genoveva Rodriguez

  • Sunny Ogunro

  • Charlotte Moore

  • Jonathan Clarke

  • Aaron Clay

As well as all of the energetic interns and every single one of the hard working volunteers.

Thank you. Thank you. THANK YOU!

In Peace,