The shift to Austin’s new governance system is drawing a lot of attention, and this month’s Engage Breakfast is bringing together three panelists to talk about what the 10-1 system means for Austin’s representation.
Wilhelmina Delco, who served Travis County in the Texas House of Representatives for 20 years, said she feels it is important to talk about the new governance system to help make sure fair representation is achieved for all Austinites through the 10-1 system.
“I’m curious as to what the breakdown is going to be, ultimately,” Delco said. “It’s hard to determine, even though you look at the [demographic]percentages reflected in the [district]map drawing, who will actually turn out to vote and who the people who are actually elected feel is their majority constituency. We won’t really know that until after this first election.”
The Engage Breakfast takes place Feb. 5 and is hosted by Leadership Austin, a local nonprofit that aims to develop and connect community leaders. Panelists for the breakfast include Delco; Regina Lawrence, director of the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life; and Austin City Councilman Bill Spelman. The discussion will be moderated by KXAN anchor Robert Hadlock.
Delco said it is also important for the public and those who are thinking about running to keep the big picture of the city in mind and not just the concerns of the district they are from.
“The philosophy behind single-member districts is you have somebody there that’s going to be an advocate for your district, and it diminishes the people who look at the big picture,” Delco said.
The breakfast begins at 7:30 a.m. in the Long Center for the Performing Arts, 701 W. Riverside Drive. Tickets for the event are $25. For more information on the event, visit www.leadershipaustin.org/programs/engage/upcoming.