Mayor Pro Tem Delia Garza, Austin's First Latina Council Member, Won't Seek Reelection
Austin Mayor Pro Tem Delia Garza announced Tuesday she will not seek reelection next fall, leaving the Southeast Austin seat open and setting the stage for a possible run for Travis County attorney.
"I am seriously considering" running, she said in an interview with KUT.
In an emailed statement, Garza said she had "deeply mixed emotions" about not seeking re-election and that those close to her and at City Hall had known for some time that she's been "leaning toward the decision."
A former firefighter and assistant attorney general, Garza became the first Latina council member when she won the District 2 seat in 2014 as the council transitioned to a geographic representative government. Earlier this year, Garza took over the mayor pro tem role from Council Member Kathie Tovo.
Of the council districts in Austin, District 2 has the highest percentage of residents who identify as Hispanic or Latino.
"I think it's important that the person that represents that district is a Latino," she told KUT. "I really do."
Garza’s decision not to run for the seat again next November comes before a Dec. 9 filing deadline for the March Democratic primary. In July, a group that included a majority of City Council members and the mayor created a PAC to fundraise for Garza to run for Travis County attorney.
"Travis County should be poised to lead Texas on criminal justice reform. Instead, we've fallen behind Dallas County," Brian McGiverin, an Austin lawyer, wrote when the PAC was announced this summer. "If Mayor Pro Tem Garza becomes County Attorney, I know she'll fight to ensure her office's work fully reflects our community's progressive values."
When asked if she planned to finish her term on council, Garza said, "Oh, absolutely."
To do that, she cannot officially declare her candidacy for another office until a few days before the filing deadline. If she files before that time, she must resign immediately. The city would then call a special election to fill the vacant council seat.
This story has been updated.