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Get to Know Your Geographically-Elected Austin City Council

Not all the action in City Hall today centers on City Council: the Charter Revision Committee is set to recommend a scheme for future elections.
Jeff Heimsath for KUT
Austin finalized its new, geographically-elected city council last night.

The city's first council under the 10-1 plan was finalized last night. Austin voters elected the remaining seven council members and the Mayor of Austin. The new council is, for the first time, majority female, with seven female council members. The only incumbent in the bunch, Council Member Kathie Tovo – who's also a likely shoe-in for the position of Mayor Pro Tem.

The remaining nine council members, and Mayor-elect Steve Adler, may not be so familiar. Below, you can find detailed biographies of each of the newly-elected 10-1 council members and an interactive map with voting totals – including their previous experience in government, their employment history and (for some) their previous work with other council candidates.

Mayor of Austin, Steve Adler – Adler won the mayoral race with 67.05 percent of the vote, defeating eight-year Austin City Council Member Mike Martinez. Adler, 58, is new to Austin city politics, but has lived in Austin for the past 36 years. He worked as chief of staff and general counsel for state Senator Eliot Shapleigh (D-El Paso). After that, Adler returned to Austin to work in eminent domain law, founding his firm Barron & Adler LLP. He's served as a board chair of the Texas Tribune, Ballet Austin and the Austin regional board chair of the Anti-Defamation League. He's also served on the boards of Breakthrough Austin, GENAustin, and the Long Center.

District 1, Ora Houston – Houston won with 74.25 percent of the vote over opponent DeWayne Lofton. Houston, 69, is a longtime community activist running for the District 1 Council. She is retired after working 27 years for the former Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation. After retirement, Houston worked for State Senator Gonzalo Barrientos. She also served on the Citizens Advisory Task Force for the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan, the collaborative council of the Travis County Model Court for Children and Families, is vice-chair of the Upper Boggy Creek Neighborhood Planning Team, and part of the Disproportionality Committee of Family and Protective Services

District 2, Delia Garza – Garza won the D2 seat on Election Day in November with 65.76 percent of the vote. Garza, 38, is an Assistant Attorney General in the Child Support Division. She is a former Austin firefighter who spent her entire career at South Austin stations. She left the department to get a law degree. Garza also serves on the board of Hermanos de East Austin, the Dove Springs Recreation Center Advisory Board and the Capital City A&M Club Scholarship Committee. Additionally, Garza is a former member of the city's Charter Revision Committee and member of the Austin Firefighters Association, Local 975.

Credit Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT
Sabino "Pio" Renteria beat out his sister in the Austin City Council runoff for the District 3 seat at City Hall.

District 3, Sabino “Pio” Renteria – Renteria defeated his sister, fellow East Austin activist and council opponent Susana Almanza 59.76 percent over 40.24 percent. Renteria, 64, is a retired computer tech running for the District 3 seat on Council. Renteria is vice-chair of the East Cesar Chavez Neighborhood Association, and a well-known neighborhood leader and civil rights activist.

District 4, Greg Casar – won the D4 seat over opponent Laura Pressley with 64.62 percent of the vote. Pressley garnered 35.38 percent of the vote after contentious general election and runoff campaigns.  Casar, 25, is one of the youngest candidates in the race. He is running for the District 4 seat in City Council. However, his recent work as a community organizer with the Workers Defense Project has already made him a familiar face at City Hall. Casar is a native Texan, who now lives in North Austin.

District 5, Ann Kitchen – Kitchen won the D5 seat in November with nearly 54 percent of the vote. Kitchen, 59, has lived in Austin since she came to the University of Texas in 1973. She has lived in South Austin for the past 20 years. Although she is an attorney, most of her recent work has been as a health care consultant. She represented southwest Austin from 2000 to 2002 as a member of the Texas House. Kitchen has served as executive director of the Indigent Care Collaboration, chair of Livable City, and has served on the board of the People’s Community Clinic and the Rape Crisis Center. She was also a member of the city’s Charter Revision Commission and is currently a member of the Commission for Seniors.

District 6, Don Zimmerman – Zimmerman defeated Jimmy Flannigan with 51.21 percent in a close race. Flannigan carried Election Day, but his 48.79 percent in total runoffs wasn’t enough to win the seat. Don Zimmerman, 54, is a consultant and founder of ZimWin Communications. Zimmerman is a familiar face in local elections – the Ron Paul supporter ran for Texas State Representative in 2006, Tax Assessor Collector in 2008, and was a vocal participant in a illegal taxation lawsuit against the city of Austin during his tenure as Northwest Austin MUD #1 president.

District 7, Leslie Pool – Pool won with 66.23 percent over opponent Jeb Boyt. Pool, 59, has lived in Austin for the past 34 years. She works for Constable Precinct 5 Carlos Lopez as an executive assistant. She was previously an education policy staffer for State Rep. and current District 5 Council Member Ann Kitchen at the State Legislature from 2000-03. She has served on the Arts Commission, the Downtown Commission, the Water/Wastewater Commission and was chair of the Telecommunications Commission.

Credit Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT
Ellen Troxclair defeated Ed Scruggs in the District 8 runoff by a scant 57 votes, finishing just above 50 percent.

District 8, Ellen Troxclair – wins the seat by less than 60 votes, earning 50.23 percent of the vote against opponent Ed Scruggs, who got 49.77 percent of the vote. Troxclair, 29, is a realtor and chief of staff to State Rep. Jason Isaac R-Dripping Springs at the Texas Legislature. She has a degree in business from the University of Texas. She is also a volunteer for Meals on Wheels, a Steward of the Wild through the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation, a patron of Ballet Austin, and a member of the Texas Association of Realtors and Austin Board of Realtors.

District 9, Kathie Tovo –  Current Council Member Tovo nearly won election in November. She received 49 percent of the vote, forcing a runoff with her opponent Council Member Chris Riley. Riley conceded in November, giving Tovo the D9 seat. Tovo, 45, was first elected to Place 3 on the City Council in 2011 with the overwhelming support of central city neighborhoods like Bouldin, where she used to live, and the West University area, where she currently resides. She is a former member of the Planning Commission and a former writing teacher at the University of Texas.

District 10, Sheri Gallo – Gallo defeated opponent Mandy Dealey with 54.76 percent of the vote. Dealey got 45.24 percent of the vote. Sherri Gallo, 61, is a real estate agent who's lived in District 10 for 50 years. She's owner of Private Properties, Inc. and also serves on the UT Development Board, the UT School of Social Work Advisory Board, the executive board of the Settlement Club, the Austin Apartment Association (she was president in 1992) and as a docent of the Texas Governor's Mansion. Gallo is also a past board member of the Real Estate Council of Austin, and the former chairperson for the city's Housing Authority.

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