It’s been almost two years since I joined the new 10-1 City Council and what an eventful two years it’s been – filled with a lot of learning, hard work, more than a few tough decisions, and some very long nights. For me it’s been the experience of a lifetime and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’m grateful that I took office with the wisdom gained from many years of civic activism and service on several city boards and commissions. That experience served as sort of a Civics 101 for me and helped me quickly come up to speed on important issues to make informed decisions.
It’s been such a privilege and honor to serve the constituents of District 7 and to work for the good of all of Austin. I am proud of the work we have done, from improving our parks, pools, and libraries, to crafting strong environmental protections, and working to keep Austin affordable.
There is still much more work to do to make sure Austin remains affordable, that our environment and neighborhoods are preserved, and our unique culture remains vibrant.
Touching on a few of my accomplishments, I led the Council’s adoption of the Austin Community Climate Plan, which establishes a local goal of zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. I initiated a good government platform that included Council’s adoption of lobby reforms and electronic filing of campaign finance reports, providing more transparency and accountability. And I led on the creation of a Community Engagement Task Force, whose members spent about a year talking to folks across town, studying how other cities engage their residents, and making recommendations for how Austin can improve its outreach to all corners of the community. I aim to begin working on some of these recommendations in the next year if I am fortunate to win re-election in November.
Working with other Council Members, I joined Council Member Delia Garza in pushing Austin Energy to increase its investment in solar power. I supported Council Member Greg Casar’s fair chance hiring effort and voted to extend the city’s living wage requirements to subcontractors working on city projects. And I co-sponsored Council Member Sabino Renteria’s successful tenant relocation initiative – a process that sprang from the inordinate number of low-income renters being displaced by new development in our city.
This year we worked hard to pass a $3.7 billion budget. It wasn’t an easy task but we balanced the books while also funding the expansion of a pilot program for healthy foods at corner stores, putting money into sidewalk construction, funding after-school and parent support programs with Austin ISD, directing dollars toward addressing historical inequities in the outer edges of East Austin, and funding lighting in city parks in the 78744 and 78745 Zip codes, thanks to the leadership efforts of Go Austin/VAMOS Austin. Most importantly, we secured a pledge from Austin Police to clear its rape kit backlog and to re-open and staff a forensic lab to address a DNA backlog.
I’m also supporting the big mobility bond package on the November ballot. It’s a lot of money but that’s what it’s going to take to put a dent in Austin’s congestion issues while also providing safe routes to schools with sidewalks and bicycle lanes so kids and their parents can walk and bike safely to school.
As I said, there is still much work yet to accomplish and if I’m fortunate to serve District 7 and all of Austin I intend to keep working for affordability, our neighborhoods, our children and families, and for our most vulnerable communities.
TODO Austin is proud to issue a strong and enthusiastic endorsement of Leslie Pool’s reelection bid to continue her service to District 7 on the Austin City Council.