Steve Adler will formally announce his intention to run for mayor of Austin during a May 4 campaign rally.
The longtime Austin lawyer seeks to leverage his broad legal, political and social background to make his first run for political office. His kickoff party will start at 3:30 p.m. at Austin City Hall.
Adler, 58, is among the many alums from The University of Texas to remain in Austin after graduation.
"I was in Barton Springs within 45 minutes of my first arrival in Austin," said Adler, speaking of his first Austin experience 35 years ago. "It was a great introduction."
After earning his law degree, Adler spent the following decades focusing on eminent domain and civil rights legal work. He also served as general counsel and chief of staff to state Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso, focusing mainly on school funding and the state budget process.
As the city has grown, Adler said he and his family—his wife, Diane, and three daughters—have been excited about Austin's achievements in recent years.
"At the same time, I think we're at a tipping point," Adler said. "As I look into the future, I think we have some real challenges that could stop the forward progression of Austin."
Issues such as transportation, education, affordability and water will all be high on Adler's campaign platform. He admits Austin has a poor track record of executing long-term strategies to help solve these growing concerns. However, the emergence of the 10-1 governance system represents an ideal opportunity for Austin to regroup politically, he said.
"I think we need to be a lot more proactive and less reactive," Adler said. "We need to be a lot more engaging and forward-thinking, and I think the people of Austin are ready for that."
Adler credits outgoing Mayor Lee Leffingwell for making good on his own campaign promises to jump-start Austin's economy and for renewing the city's focus on transportation alternatives. If elected mayor, Adler said he would continue utilizing the powers of the office of the mayor to enact more change in those areas.
Among his competitors will be at least one current council member, Mike Martinez. Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole has also expressed interest in running for mayor, among other candidates.
Adler said his broad background makes him a more qualified choice for mayor.
"I don't think the experience Austin needs right now is eight years on City Council," he said. "I think we need to be more forward-looking than that and take advantage of the opportunity to create a new direction, a new way, and I think the experience I have is right for that."