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Austin City Council Member Ora Houston Says She Will Not Seek Re-election

Gabriel C. Pérez
Ora Houston speaks at a ceremony last year to mark the renovation of Downs Field. The District 1 representative announced today she will not seek re-election in the fall.

The race to fill the District 1 seat in November is wide open after Austin City Council Member Ora Houston announced today she would not seek re-election.

Houston, who represents the largely East Austin district, said she would not run again after what her office described as “months of personal discernment and conversations with confidants.” Houston said she plans to clean and travel.

"Time to unclutter my home and look forward to checking off my ABC list – Alaska, Belize and Cuba,” she said in a statement. “Please be assured that I will not become a slacker, I will remain an active, inclusive and civil voice in the City I call home: Austin, Tejas!"

In 2014, voters elected Houston, the only African-American council member, to represent most of central East Austin. Her election coincided with a big change to the council's makeup: In 2015, Austin moved away from having six at-large representatives to having 10 district representatives.

Houston said she will continue to focus on inclusivity in her remaining seven months on the council.

"It has been a joy, privilege and a huge responsibility to represent the 'blended family' of District #1," she wrote. "Over the next seven months there are major issues to address and votes to take which will impact our City for generations, and the individuals who live here now and in the future." 

So far, Lewis Conway, Natasha Harper-Madison and Mariana Salazar have filed with the city to run for the District 1 seat. Vincent Harding, the former chairman of the Travis County Democratic Party, announced his candidacy Wednesday.

This post has been updated.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled Mariana Salazar's name.

Audrey McGlinchy is KUT's housing reporter. She focuses on affordable housing solutions, renters’ rights and the battles over zoning. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @AKMcGlinchy.
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