Democratic state Rep. Celia Israel announced Tuesday at Parque Zaragoza in East Austin that she intends to run for Austin mayor after representing House District 50 since 2014.
Israel’s campaign will focus on “the challenges of housing and homelessness, affordability and opportunity in a way that brings us together and leaves no one behind.”
“The city that I’ve lived in since 1982 has become an exclusive city. It’s ultra unaffordable and in my view, we are becoming a city that is forgetting the women and men that are building this economy,” said Israel, who moved to Austin to attend the University of Texas when she was 17 years old. “I’m concerned that we are becoming a city that we don’t really want to be and I think urgent action is required.”
She also expressed concern for the changing demographics, particularly the declining numbers for Hispanic and Black Austinites. Citing her experience as a real estate agent, she emphasized the need to address the unaffordability of the city that disproportionately impacts Austinites of color from working-class backgrounds.
Israel is a member of the Legislative Study Group, the Women’s Health Caucus, the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, and is a founding member of the Texas House LGBTQ Caucus. During her time in the legislature, Rep. Israel has championed legislation protecting voting rights, investing in transportation infrastructure and improving safety, and supporting LGBTQ youth. She’s served on numerous boards and committees focused on multimodal transportation, food scarcity, and empowering the next generation of female leaders. She served the city on the Environmental Board, the Police Monitor Board, the 2011 Bond Advisory Commission, and the Robert Mueller Advisory Commission in Austin.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler is in his final term due to term limits. An election for the new mayor will be held on November 8. Former Austin mayor and Democratic state Sen. Kirk Watson has also expressed interest in running for the position, as has City Council member Kathie Tovo. Two candidates have formally announced their candidacy: Jennifer Virden, a Realtor and former Austin city council candidate, and Erica Nix.