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Dominic Chavez Challenging Bill Spelman in Race for Council Seat

Place 5 City Council member Bill Spelman is facing competition in his re-election efforts.
Photo by Paulo Martins, KUT News
Place 5 City Council member Bill Spelman is facing competition in his re-election efforts.

The race for a seat on the Austin City Council may get a little more interesting.

When Place 5 council member Bill Spelman ran in 2009, he was unopposed. It was pretty easy to see why: As a former council member (serving from 1997 to 2000), he had name recognition with the core of Austin voters who reliably turn out for Austin elections. His work since at the University of Texas raised his stature on police and public safety which are perennial topics in local contests. At one point, his name was even floated as a potential mayoral challenger.

But in his re-election bid, Spelman has some competition.

Today, Dominic Chavez announced his candidacy in Place 5. Chavez serves as senior director for external relations at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, a state agency that works with Texas colleges.

Chavez may also be familiar to Austin political junkies for his involvement in two local issues: In 2010, Chavez served as treasurer of Sensible Transportation Solutions for Austin, a political action committee opposed to the transportation bond package the city placed on the ballot that year.

Chavez was also a plaintiff alongside former Texas Monthly publisher and Public Safety Commissioner Mike Levy and political consultant Alfred Stanley in a lawsuit challenging the city’s tax breaks for historic homes.

In a press release, Chavez cites three plans he'll focus on in his campaign: “restore financial stewardship to Austin Energy,” continue “strategic, cost-effective investment in public safety,” and improve workforce education.

Chavez joins Spelman, and another candidate, Audrey “Tina” Cannon, in the contest for the Place 5 seat.

Wells has been a part of KUT News since 2012, when he was hired as the station's first online reporter. He's currently the social media host and producer for Texas Standard, KUT's flagship news program. In between those gigs, he served as online editor for KUT, covering news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond.
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