AUSTIN, Texas - Affordability, homelessness, policing.
All hot topics FOX 7 wanted to hit with the remaining candidates for district.
We begin with Amanda Rios. She spent the first eight years of her life in Mexico, before moving to Austin, and she hasn't left since. "The only way I’m going to make the positive changes I want to see, is if I am that positive change," she said.
Rios wants to bring true representation to the dais. When it comes to affordability, a big problem Austinites are facing, it's one issue she is hoping to attack.
"You have people who are coming in but just as fast you have people who are leaving. There are many things we can do but it takes somebody thinking outside of the box, and someone who wants to empower residents," said Rios.
Other candidates feel creating more housing and also considering lower-income residents is crucial.
"Here in the northern part of the district we have income-restricted properties, it is not a lot it’s not enough. We need to have a relationship with the owners of those properties. Because when it’s time for that period to end they can choose to roll it back over and go another stretch or they could flip it to market-rate which could displace everybody on that property," said Guzman.
For Melinda Schiera, tackling affordability begins with understanding what went wrong in the first place. "I would like to implement a board and commission that potentially was gathering this data on an ongoing basis. We need to understand what the market rates are, what market availability is," said Schiera.
Schiera said she is an advocate for North Austin, having also served on the North Austin Civic Association for seven years. She is a champion for public safety.
"It’s just important that we address public safety in a variety of ways. I even think we need to increase accountability for our local convenience store operations. They should not be a meeting location for drug markets, and they shouldn’t allow the rampant credit card fraud we are seeing," she said.
The Austin police union president has said repeatedly that low staffing is putting strain on the department. "I want to help APD increase their patrol staffing," said Schiera.
But community organizer Monica Guzman believes more cops does not mean less crime. "They don’t prevent crime, they respond to it," said Guzman.
Candidate Jade Lovera was born and raised in Austin. She believes Austinites should feel officers will respond in a timely manner when called. "We need our police," she said.
"I’ve been in this district my entire life, crime has always been a problem," said Lovera.
When it comes to homelessness, Lovera said she agrees with Proposition B, reinstating the camping ban. So did Schiera. "I did agree with reinstating the camping ban. I understand the issue is very complex, that we need to support housing first initiatives," said Schiera.
FOX 7 Austin reached out to Ramesses Setepenre who is also on the ballot, he did not respond.
With early voting over with, the fate of the seven candidates will be in the hands of voters in District Four, come Tuesday.
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