The first day Austin City Council candidates could accept campaign contributions was May 8, and District 4 candidate Gregorio Casar took it as an opportunity to officially announce his intention to run.
Casar is one of three candidates who have already stepped forward with announcements for the Nov. 4 election. Marco Mancillas hosted his campaign kickoff party April 16, and Laura Pressley is announcing her campaign May 10. District 4 includes the 78753 and 78758 ZIP codes.
Casar is the community organizer for the Workers Defense Project, an organization that empowers low-income workers to achieve fair wages and employment. He has also been a leader with Austin Interfaith and served on Travis County's economic development task force.
One of his goals is to implement a voluntary municipal identification program that would provide IDs to residents who have a harder time receiving state IDs, including immigrants and people who were in the foster system.
He is also advocating for affordability, education and public safety issues.
"We have an area that lacks a political voice," he said. "10-1 itself doesn't solve that problem, but it creates opportunity to solve it. I would bring experience to City Council and advocate for people and connect them to the city."
Mancillas has lived in Austin since 1999 and attended St. Edwards University where he earned a degree in marketing and business management. He has worked for the Texas Senate and state House of Representatives.
Mancillas served on the MBE/WBE Small Business Advisory Committee and for the Mexic-Arte Museum. He is the former executive director of the Hispanic Physicians Association of Austin, which provides free heath care screenings to the Hispanic population. Mancillas spent several years talking with the community in District 4 about their health care options.
"I got to understand what their needs and wants are in the community," he said.
Mancillas also will advocate for better affordability.
"We've got to find ways to make it more affordable, whether it's through tax exemptions for property taxes, freezes on rent hikes or [building] more affordable places to live," he said. "At the rate we're going, people aren't going to be able to afford to live here."
Pressley has lived in Austin for 26 years and is an alumna of The University of Texas where she earned a Ph.D. in physical chemistry. She has served as president of the Windsor Hills Neighborhood Association, was appointed the community health designee of the Restore Rundberg task force and was co-secretary of the Austin Neighborhoods Council.
Pressley—who owns Pure Rain LLC, a bottled rainwater company—said she would like to improve affordability, maintain neighborhood integrity and safety, alleviate traffic congestion, enhance small business job opportunities, and collaborate with school districts for student success.
She said she also brings her experience in neighborhood and land development code issues. Pressley and others are fighting for the city to recognize neighborhood plans during the code rewrite process.
"We were promised these plans would be honored during the Imagine Austin [comprehensive] plan and that has not happened," she said. "They're really bowling over the neighborhoods right now. We have been pushing that [promise] and are making a lot of headway."
More information may be found on her campaign Facebook page.