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Meet The 2018 Austin City Council Candidates: District 1

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Emree Weaver for KUT
Candidates at KUT's District 1 forum at Wesley United Methodist Church on Oct. 1.

There are five Austin City Council seats up for grabs in the November election, along with a race for mayor. To help get you ready to vote, KUT will publish overviews of each race. We kick off with District 1.

This race is wide open because City Councilwoman Ora Houston decided not to seek re-election. Six candidates have jumped at the chance to replace her.

Watch a forum with the District 1 candidates:

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Credit Emree Weaver for KUT
Natasha Harper-Madison at KUT's District 1 forum.

Natasha Harper-Madison

Harper-Madison, an entrepreneur and community activist, is board president of the East 12th Street Merchants Association. She also started East Austin Advocates, a group that tries to match low-income families to resources.

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Credit Emree Weaver for KUT
Mitrah Elizabeth Avini at KUT's District 1 forum.

Mitrah Elizabeth Avini

Avini grew up in Austin and was at one point involved in the city's indie film scene. She has been a spokesperson for Joy International, a nonprofit that promotes cultural understanding between nations. She has also worked with the Asia Society, helping a startup develop sustainable hygiene products for schoolgirls in India.

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Credit Emree Weaver for KUT
Lewis Conway Jr. at KUT's District 1 forum.

Lewis Conway Jr.

Conway has probably received the most press coverage in this race. He is trying to win a City Council seat, even though he was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in 1992 and may not be legally allowed to take office. For now, the Austin city clerk is not challenging his place on the ballot. He's currently criminal justice organizer at Grassroots Leadership, a national criminal justice reform nonprofit.

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Credit Emree Weaver for KUT
Reedy Spigner at KUT's District 1 forum.

Reedy Macque Spigner III

Spigner has a lot of experience working for government. He's worked for the state Legislature, the Office of the Attorney General and the Texas Department of State Health Services.

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Credit Emree Weaver for KUT
Mariana Salazar at KUT's District 1 forum.

Mariana Salazar

Salazar came to the U.S. from Venezuela as a teenager. Salazar has worked with local, state and federal agencies in various capacities with a focus on affordable housing and ending homelessness.

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Credit Emree Weaver for KUT
Vincent Harding at KUT's District 1 forum.

Vincent Harding

Harding is a lawyer and political activist. After working at the Texas Legislature, the Travis County Juvenile Public Defender's Office and the TxDOT, he became the chair of the Travis County Democratic Party.

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KUT has partnered with the Austin Monitor, Glasshouse Policy and A Functional Democracy to host a series of candidate forums this month. You can come out to the District 1 forum at Wesley United Methodist Church at 7 p.m. on Monday. We'll start with a happy hour from 5:30 to 6:30 at Sam's BBQ.

RSVP here.

Got questions for the candidates? Submit them below, and we may ask them at the forum. 

Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified Mariana Salazar's current job as a community organizer.

 

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