District 8 Austin City Council Member Ellen Troxclair will not seek a second council term in November, according to a news release from her office Wednesday, blowing open an already crowded race for the southwest Austin seat.
Although Troxclair, city council’s lone conservative voice since 2016, did not explicitly state a reason for her departure, she said serving on council has forced her to make sacrifices with her family and small residential real estate business, Troxclair Residential. Troxclair’s office declined to specify further.
Troxclair was away on maternity leave for much of 2018 after welcoming her second child since she took office.
“At the end of my term, I can leave knowing that I accomplished what I set out to do,” Troxclair said. “Serve as an advocate for my district, a voice of reason, a fiscal watchdog, an unwavering voice for lowering the cost of living, and a representative of the average Austinite who often feels overlooked at City Hall.”
Throughout her four years on council, Troxclair continually advocated for tax relief, and subsequently voted against each fiscal year budget. She helped spearhead the city’s efforts at a 10 percent homestead tax exemption. In 2017, she drew harsh criticism from her council colleagues after testifying at the state legislature in favor of bill to cap property tax revenue increases at 5 percent.
Troxclair was often the lone no vote on several resolutions related to illegal immigration and sanctuary cities, saying local government should not get involved with federal issues. When she objected in 2017 to the city’s allocation of $200,000 toward legal fees for local immigrants who were facing detention and potential deportation, she and District 4 Council Member Greg Casar engaged in an emotional back and forth on the dais.
In her statement, Troxclair threw some parting shots at Austin’s political philosophy that she said contributes to over-taxation and over-regulation, a failure in prioritizing “basic” infrastructure needs and policies that she called “detrimental” to the local economy.
“Despite our good efforts, Austin continues on an unsustainable path,” Troxclair said. “It is heartbreaking to watch a city that I love race to become a place where the average person cannot afford to live.”
The race for the District 8 seat is now wide open, with three left-leaning candidates in Bobby Levinski, Rich DePalma and Paige Ellis. Troxclair said she will support the candidate who can continue her pursuit of fiscal responsibility and lowering property tax.
“I’m hopeful that someone with this dedication will step forward,” Troxclair said. “It is also critical that the Austin community support common-sense policymakers across the city, because these changes cannot be made alone.”