2024 Voting Guide

There are 6 city council seats up for reelection this year. Here’s who to support, donate to, and vote for thus far.

The Importance of Voting

Present day Texas state law makes it crucial to have a supermajority of pro-housing and pro-transportation council members on city council due to a provision known as a “valid petition” which gives property owners special rights that other Texas citizens do not have. Under this law property owners can stop rezoning of any land within 200 feet of their property provided that those petitioning own at least 20% of the land.

Renters do not get this right, 80% of land owners cannot petition in favor of a rezoning that would build housing or improve transportation. A single large landowner can dictate what an entire neighborhood is capable of doing. The landlord of a large apartment complex gets more say over what is built nextdoor than the hundreds of people who live there.

However “valid petitions” cannot overcome a three-fourths supermajority ruling by City Council. In these cases the City Council is able to override the valid petition. Within the context of Austin this means that any improvement which is legally challenged must have a 9-2 supermajority.

This is not academic. An anti-housing lawsuit representing just 1.4% of the city’s population very recently overturned multiple rezonings. This lawsuit would have also overturned what is arguably Austin’s best affordable housing initiative. It survived solely due to a procedural issue.

Unlike in other states, Texas’ petition law now endangers citywide rezonings, thanks to a 2022 court opinion in City of Austin v. Acuña that blocked Austin from overhauling its own zoning (which was done to comply with its comprehensive plan, as paradoxically required under state law). In that case, a mere 1.4 percent of the city’s population was enough to force the supermajority at city council per the valid petition law. The court’s ruling jeopardizes future zoning overhauls in the Fourteenth Court of Appeals District and casts a shadow over any Texas city’s efforts to comprehensively rezone.

Salim Furth & C. Whit Ewen via Mercatus.org

More can be done to overhaul and fix Texas’ broken “valid petition” law but until that happens it is absolutely vital that anyone who cares about housing even slightly get out and vote for pro-housing candidates.


As of the writing of this page (January 4th 2024) Kirk Watson has not officially announced if he will be running for reelection. There have also not been any challengers announced. We’ll update this page as we learn more.

District 2

Vanessa Fuentes has been a stalwart supporter of housing, minimum wage, and paid parental leave since joining Austin City Council in 2021. Her reelection is exactly what Austin needs.

Since taking office, Vanessa has committed to making government work for us, the people. She has led on issues including raising the minimum wage to $20 for city workers, expanding paid parental leave to 12 weeks for city workers, and expanding access to full-day Pre-K in Del Valle ISD.

Vanessa has also championed the creation of a Trauma Recovery Center focused on providing services for victims of violent crime, the Displacement Prevention Housing Navigators, and led the workforce development program focused on Community Health Workers.

Vanessa For Austin.com

District 4

Chito Vela is running for reelection and has an excellent track record of supporting housing, environmental, transportation, and public safety policies.

Throughout my career and public service, one goal has always remained the same - to improve the lives of working families. I’m proud to be the experienced, progressive choice for District 4.

As a father of 3 and as someone who works everyday with people who are struggling to make it in Austin, I understand the need to lower the cost of housing and invest in infrastructure, schools, reliable energy, and public safety that is effective and accountable.

I am looking forward to the opportunity to earn your vote, and I’m ready to get to work to keep Austin resilient, welcoming, and weird.

Chito Vela.com

District 6

The current incumbent, Mackenzie Kelly, has voted against key housing reforms (ie. HOME) and the elimination of parking mandates.

Krista Laine has filed to challenge Mackenzie Kelly’s seat and promises to be the effective and visionary leader we need for the District 6 seat. Krista Laine previously served as President of Access Education RRISD which successfully led the fight against a far-right takeover of the Round Rock school district.

Krista is a proven, effective advocate who puts families and community needs before politics.

She brings deep experience in housing, real estate markets, and public schools advocacy, a track record of community leadership, and a history of translating advocacy into results. She has also spent over a decade raising two children in District 6, together with her husband.

As a public schools advocate and parent, Krista has seen firsthand the struggles faced by our neighborhood public schools and the positive impact that the city, county, and other local governmental entities can have on meeting the needs of students, families, and the community.

Krista Laine for Austin D6

District 7

Leslie Pool is term-limited and cannot run for reelection. There are a few candidates vying for this seat including Adam Powell and Mike Siegel.

Adam Powell is a former union organizer and longtime activist in Austin. On his website he makes it clear that housing, transportation, infrastructure, human rights, and public safety will be key parts of his platform.

Adam has also spent time outside of work on his love of community service. This has included serving as a Board Member for Austin’s SAFE Alliance, being elected Vice President of the North Shoal Creek Neighborhood Association, and being appointed as a committee member with CapMetro.

He has also volunteered with many grassroots causes and nonprofits, including ReThink35, Shoal Creek Conservancy, NAMI Texas, Texas Freedom Network, and many others.

Adam is also a passionate researcher and storyteller of Austin history. His TikTok and Instagram Reels accounts have received over two million total views on the subject. He’s also used this platform to spread awareness to local causes, businesses, and nonprofits, including CASA Travis County, OFC Creatives, Travis County Democrats, the Austin Common, and others.

Adam for Austin.com

Mike Siegel is a former public school teacher and trial attorney. Mike is also a co-founder of Ground Game Texas which focuses on improving state-level Texas voter turnout to challenge the regressive status quo and champion progressive ideas such as a $15 minimum wage and Medicaid expansion.

As a teacher, Mike taught third grade, fifth grade, and eighth grade in the public schools, and was active in his teachers’ union. He has co-founded multiple nonprofit organizations, including Ground Game Texas, which fights for democracy and social justice through local issue campaigns in cities across the state.

As an attorney, Mike has 13 years of experience, including several years in private practice as a civil rights and employment lawyer, and more recently several years of service as an Austin city attorney. While working at City Hall, Mike represented dozens of city departments, co-wrote ordinances including our paid sick leave ordinance, and appeared for the City in numerous cases in state and federal court.

Siegel for Austin.org

Edwin Bautista holds a Masters of Science in Community and Regional planning, and a Bachelors degree in Urban Studies; both from The University of Texas. Edwin has served on various city commissions and panels including the Community Review panel in 2022 which was responsible for guiding funding for Project Connect’s Anti-Displacement initiative. Since 2021 he’s worked for Texas Housers whose mission is to support low-income Texans in achieving the American dream of home ownership.

Edwin believes it’s time for generational change on the City Council and a need for greater representation that truly serves all Austinites.

The City of Austin is a diverse and dynamic place, it’s crucial that Council Members accurately represent the needs and aspirations of community residents. Edwin is committed to listening to the voices of all community members, addressing their concerns, and working collaboratively to craft local policies that reflect shared values and priorities.

In District 7, the key to progress lies in unity. Edwin firmly believes the richness of diversity within D7 is its’ greatest strength. He’s eager to tackle district-level challenges, however to be effective, Edwin knows he must work hand-in-hand with diverse community members. He’s committed to fostering a collaborative spirit, ensuring that no voice goes unheard, and embracing different perspectives, ideas, and experiences, all to forge solutions that truly serve all D7 residents.

Edwin is ready to be the advocate District 7 needs – to not just listen, but to fight for the rights and dreams of all Austinites!

Edwin for District 7.com

District 10

Alison Alter is also term-limited and cannot run for reelection. CM A Alter recently voted along with Mackenzie Kelly to oppose HOME and the elimination of parking mandates. Ashika Ganguly is officially running for the District 10 seat, has a bunch of excellent endorsements, and would make a refreshing change to Alison Alter.

Ashika has […] earned a Master’s degree in policy, worked in early childhood program coordination at the University of Texas, led extensive efforts to advance childcare policy in Washington, D.C., and most recently as the Legislative Director for Representative John Bucy at the Texas Legislature. Her work at the Capitol has been rewarding, but also frustrating. During the 88th legislative session, Ashika found herself fighting for equitable legislation amidst attacks on inclusion efforts, LGBTQ+ rights, school finance, voting rights, local control, and much more. These experiences propelled her towards her new mission: advocating for her community at City Hall.

Ashika for Austin.com