In case you couldn’t tell from the yard signs, bumper stickers, and news headlines… it’s election season.
And yes, a lot of attention has been given to the senate race between Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke, but did you know that it’s also a big year for local elections? Half of our city’s 10 Council districts will be up for election, as well as the mayoral seat.
Plus, did you know that there will be 11 ballot propositions on the ballot in Austin this year? Eleven!!
Yes, it’s crazy, but don’t get stressed just yet. There are plenty of upcoming educational events, candidate forums, and radio shows, all dedicated to demystifying this process for you. Below, we’ve put together a list of some of the big ones (all of which focus on local elections specifically).
1. “A Beginner’s Guide To Local Government” Launch Party
On Tuesday October 2nd, in the year 2018, join your fellow lovers of local democracy to explore, engage, interact, ask questions, confess unknowns, and get ready to vote this November.
Join AEN Editor-In-Chief Amy Stansbury in celebrating the launch of “A Beginner’s Guide To Local Government,” an activity book/zine that teaches Austinites how to get involved in local government and make a difference in their community. Amy created the book in partnership with a team of local artists (Hal Wuertz and Jordan Shade).
The party will include:
- Comedians performing around civic-related themes (including Adrian Villegas from the Latino Comedy Project and Gentrif*cked, Loverboy, Over The Lege, and Meghan Ross)
- The opportunity to meet real live local elected officials, including Greg Casar (our city’s youngest ever City Council person) and Delia Garza (our city’s first Latina City Council member)
- Interactive civic art installations
- Inspiration from local Austin heroes who have led political movements and brought real change to this community
- The “Beginner’s Guide To Local Government” book of course!!
2. Ballot Boxing Forums
KUT, the Austin Monitor, Glasshouse Policy, and A Functional Democracy have teamed up to host a series of Ballot Boxing candidate forums this October. During the forums, you’ll have the chance to learn more about each candidate’s policy positions, political experience, and goals for Austin. Each one is free to attend and open to the public.
Plus, all of the forums are kicking off with a little happy hour, so you’ll have the opportunity to mix, mingle, and ask any of your civics related questions before actually hearing from the candidates. Who says politics can’t be fun?
- District 1— October 1st at 7pm at the Wesley United Methodist Church, 1164 San Bernard St. (with a pre-debate happy hour at Sam’s Barbecue at 5:30pm)
- District 3 — October 3rd at 7pm at Tamale House East, 1707 E 6th St, Austin (with a pre-debate happy hour from 6pm to 7pm)
- District 8 — October 10th at 7 pm at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave (with a pre-debate happy hour from 6pm to 7pm)
- District 9 — October 16th at 7pm at Capital Factory, 701 Brazos St (with a pre-debate happy hour from 6pm to 7pm)
- Mayor — October 22nd at 7 p.m. at Wesley United Methodist Church, 1164 San Bernard St. (with a pre-debate happy hour at Full Circle Bar, featuring free skeeball at 5:30pm)
3. Climate and Energy Candidate Forums
Local environmental organizations 350 Austin, Solar Austin, Earth Day Austin, and the Green Sanctuary Ministry of the First Unitarian Universalist Church are hosting these series of forums for candidates to speak specifically about their climate change and energy priorities.
Plus, all of the forums will be podcasted by Shades of Green radio show.
- Mayoral Forum – Tuesday, October 2nd from 6:30pm to 9pm at the First Unitarian Universalist Church
- Districts 8 and 9 – Tuesday, October 9th from 6:30pm to 9pm at the Wildflower Church
- Districts 1 and 3 – Tuesday, October 16th from 6:30pm at 9pm at the Cepeda Branch Library
4. Shades of Green Radio Show
Austin’s only live environmental talk radio show will be dedicating their next few shows to the upcoming local elections. You can tune in live any Thursday from 1pm to 2pm on 91.7 FM or koop.org. Or, if you miss the live show, you can always listen to the podcast on their website, or on iTunes.
Here’s the schedule for upcoming shows:
- September 27th – Bonds and Ballot Initiatives
- October 4th – Districts 1 and 3
- October 11th – Districts 8 and 9
- October 18th – The mayoral election
5. City of Austin Bond Open Houses
To help Austinites understand the seven bond-related propositions that will be on the ballot this November, the city is hosting a series of open houses. During these events, you’ll be able to learn more about what the bond will actually pay for… as well as get any of your lingering questions answered.
Here’s the schedule:
- District 1: October 10th, 6pm-8pm, Millennium Youth Entertainment Complex, 1156 Hargrave St.
- District 2: October 8th, 4:30pm-6:30pm, Southeast Branch Library, 5803 Nuckols Crossing Road
- District 3: October 25th, 6pm-8pm, Montopolis Recreation Center, 1200 Montopolis Drive
- District 4: October 20th, noon-2pm., Gus Garcia Recreation Center, 1201 E. Rundberg Lane
- District 5: October 22nd, 6:3pm0-8:30pm, Manchaca Road Library, 5500 Manchaca Road
- District 6: September 24th, 6:30pm-8:30pm Spicewood Springs Library, 8637 Spicewood Springs Road
- District 7: October 15th, 4:30pm-6:30pm, North Village Library, 2505 Steck Avenue
- District 8: October 16th, 5:30pm-7:30pm, Circle C Community Center, 7817 La Crosse Ave.
- District 9: September 27th, 6pm-8pm, Austin City Hall, 301 W. 2nd Street
- District 10: October 3rd, 4:30pm-6:40pm, Old Quarry Library, 7051 Village Center Drive