Greg Casar

Gregorio Casar was elected to Austin City Council in 2014 and re-elected two years later.
Credit Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Gregorio “Greg” Casar was born in Houston, the son of Mexican immigrants. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 2011 with a degree in politics. He served for four years as policy director for the Workers Defense Project, where he fought for better job-site working conditions and higher wages.

Casar was first elected to represent District 4 in December 2014, becoming the Austin City Council’s youngest-ever member at the age of 25. He was re-elected in November 2016. Casar’s priorities include social equity, civil rights, shared prosperity, housing affordability and public safety.

Casar is an active member of the Austin’s Economic Opportunity Committee, Austin’s Development Committee and Public Safety Committee.

Since taking office, Casar has sponsored and passed major housing initiatives aimed at keeping working- and middle-class people in Austin. Casar also authored an initiative called Fair Chance Hiring, which ensures job applicants are judged solely on merit and not conviction history. He has initiated policies to raise the minimum wage for both city employees and private-sector workers on city contracts.

During the 2017 Texas legislative session, Casar was outspoken about his opposition to Senate Bill 4, the state’s so-called anti-sanctuary cities bill. During a sit-in to protest SB 4 he was even arrested and charged with trespassing.

In September 2017 he helped launch a campaign requiring all employers in the city to provide paid sick leave to their workers.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT

From Texas Standard.

The Austin City Council will vote this Thursday on a package of proposals designed to make the capital city Texas’ first “freedom city.”

Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Internal emails between U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials show that Austin-area immigration officials tried to highlight the most “egregious” cases of suspected undocumented immigrants picked up during two days of immigration raids in February. 

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The Trump administration said today it plans to phase out the Obama-era program that protects from deportation people who were brought to the United States illegally as children.

But in an announcement this morning, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Congress could officially authorize the program known as DACA before it expires in March.

Syeda Hasan / KUT

Austin City Council has voted to sue the state of Texas over a law that blocks the city from enforcing an anti-discrimination housing ordinance.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The Austin City Council on Thursday decided to do away with the city’s 27-year-old daytime curfew for juveniles, but extended the city’s nighttime curfew for people under 17 until Oct. 1. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The City of Austin has filed a legal challenge to the state's new "sanctuary city" law, joining a suit filed Thursday by the City of San Antonio.

Syeda Hasan / KUT

Government officials and community activists from across the state gathered outside the Texas Capitol on Tuesday to voice support for taking legal action to stop the so-called “sanctuary cities" law.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez

Austin City Council Member Greg Casar sat on the floor, his back blocking one of the two main entrances to a state building on the Capitol grounds. He’d taken a seat as part of a sit-in Monday to protest Senate Bill 4

'Sanctuary Cities' Bill Heads To Gov. Abbott's Desk

May 3, 2017
Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The Texas Senate has voted to accept the House version of its so-called "sanctuary cities" bill. Senate Bill 4 would penalize jurisdictions that do not honor all requests from the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to detain suspected undocumented immigrants.

The vote was 20-11 along party lines. 

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Officers arrested demonstrators who staged an all-day sit-in Monday to protest legislation banning so-called "sanctuary" jurisdictions.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

As the City of Austin moves forward with the renegotiation of its public safety contracts, activists are asking for several changes to the city’s contract with the local police union. The contract, which is negotiated every couple years, dictates pay, discipline and the legal rights of officers.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

After hours of debate last night, Austin City Council gave final approval to one of this year’s most divisive zoning cases. The Austin Oaks planned unit development, or PUD, will bring new housing, retail, office space and parkland to the current site of an office park near Spicewood Springs Road and MoPac. Last night’s vote was 8-2. 

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

In November, Austin Mayor Steve Adler announced the formation of a group of local leaders tasked with suggesting city policy that could begin to ensure equity throughout the city. On Tuesday, the Mayor’s Task Force on Institutional Racism and Systemic Inequities published its nearly 70-page final report.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

The Austin Police Department will begin implementing a new policy concerning how it identifies transgender and gender-nonconforming crime victims.

Courtesy of Greg Casar's office

Austin City Council approved $200,000 in emergency funding for immigration legal services Thursday, while immigrants and advocates took to the steps of City Hall outside to protest ICE raids and national anti-immigrant policies. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Teachers and principals should not feel afraid to provide information to immigrant families about what to do if ICE shows up at their homes, the local teacher's union said at a news conference today.  

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Thousands are protesting President Donald Trump’s executive order banning refugees from seven predominately Muslim countries. While federal judges have temporarily stayed parts of that order across the country, notably a provision that would deport some refugees detained at airports, demonstrators have staged protests at airports across the country, including at Austin Bergstrom International Airport.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Update (Jan. 23) – Gov. Greg Abbott sent a letter to Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez today, outlining potential penalties for the county and calling Hernandez’s policy “shortsighted.”

Jorge Sanhueza Lyon / KUT

Over the summer, the Austin City Council took a hard stance on criminal background checks for taxi drivers, eventually expanding them from a statewide check to a national one. But last week, council members reversed course on that decision.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

President-elect Donald Trump told "60 Minutes" in an interview this weekend that he plans to immediately deport roughly two to three million undocumented immigrants upon taking office. That announcement is something many immigrants here in Austin have been fearing since election night.

On Sunday morning, hundreds of people gathered at City Hall to show support for the city’s immigrant community, where city lawmakers also pledged local support. 

Stephanie Tacy for KUT

Hundreds of Austinites have gathered to protest the election of Donald Trump.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

From the Austin Monitor: District 4 City Council Member Greg Casar, the youngest member ever elected to the City Council, claimed another victory last night, beating two opponents who seemed almost invisible.

District 2 Council Member Delia Garza – Council’s first Latina, elected during her first run for office in 2014 – also easily defeated two opponents who were barely visible during the campaign.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

From the Austin Monitor: It’s anybody’s guess whether the city’s $720 million transportation bond proposition, known as Proposition 1, will win voter approval next week, but if it does not, it won’t be because of lack of funding.

Move Austin Forward, the political action committee supporting the bond, has reported total political expenditures of more than $701,000. The campaign reported it had received nearly $482,000 in contributions and maintained about $75,000 in the bank as of Saturday.

While the implementation of a planned deployment of body cameras on Austin Police Department officers is on hold until at least late November, city leaders and public accountability advocates are still working out the issue of how the city will decide when to release video footage from those cameras for public review.

Elizabeth Pagano / Austin Monitor

Two of the three candidates vying for the District 4 City Council seat faced off Monday in a packed North Austin coffeehouse and answered questions from those they hope to represent.

Incumbent Council Member Greg Casar has represented District 4 since his 2014 win. Candidate Louis Herrin III, who works as a state environmental engineer, is running for the District 4 seat for the second time. In 2014, Herrin garnered under 3 percent of the vote in his first run against Casar.

Jenna VonHofe for KUT

Austin’s District 4 is one of its most diverse – more than 65 percent of residents are Hispanic, and nearly 10 percent of the district is African-American.

University of Michigan School of Natural Resources & Environment via Flickr

From the Austin Monitor: The Public Safety Commission upped the ante Tuesday, calling for an additional $5.6 million to tackle a backlog of DNA cases that continue to accumulate while the city’s lab remains shuttered.

Callie Hernandez for KUT

The deadline for council candidates to place their names on the November ballot came and went today. Here’s a list of who’s running in the five districts where seats are up for election (incumbents are indicated as such):

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

The Austin City Council has decided to postpone a zoning decision for the Elysium Park apartment complex, a new affordable housing development planned for North Austin. 


Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

City officials are looking at expanding a tool to bring more affordable housing to Austin neighborhoods.

That tool is called a “density bonus.” Here’s how it works: The city grants developers certain privileges, like building more housing units or taller buildings than are typically allowed. In return, the development must provide a public benefit, like adding some units designated to be rented at below-market rates.

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