Alter, Virden to face-off in Dec. 15 runoff for District 10 seat

Incumbent Alison Alter and her challenger Jennifer Virden will head to a runoff for the Austin City Council District 10 seat on Dec. 15.

Alter has held the seat since January 2017. She is a mom, entrepreneur, and former educator.

“I believe city government plays a role in solving problems. I’m particularly passionate about combating climate change and making sure everyone has access to parks and trails,” she said.

She has been on several forums over the last few weeks that she says her opponent Jennifer Virden should have attended. “I’m so disappointed that my opponent has failed to show up to any forums except for The League of Women Voters which was required to receive money,” said Alter.



Virden is a native Austinite and a business owner who said Alter should focus her attention elsewhere.

“She needs to not pay so much attention to the mechanics of campaigning. She really likes to have those forums because she knows she is in rehabilitation mode and those forums seem to work for the incumbent. It was a campaign strategy, it worked, it got us to the runoff,” said Virden.

RELATED: Meet the candidates running for Austin City Council District Ten

How do the candidates stack up when it comes to big issues?

“I am definitely for restoring and reinstating the camping ban and the sit, lie and panhandling ban. They are crucial in managing the population and keeping them more consolidated so they can receive the services that they need,” said Virden.

Alter said she never did agree with repealing the camping ordinance in the first place.

RELATED: Changes to homeless camping policy go into effect

“I voted against the repeal of the camping ban in June of 2019 because we didn't have a plan in place for the consequences. I am frustrated as anyone else is on the situation we are seeing around the city. There are not the votes though, to be able to reinstate the camping ban,” said Alter.

Back in the summer, council voted unanimously to cut more than $20 million from APD’s budget, a controversial move that Alter stands by, as she said the goal is to root out racism in policing.

“We cut about 5 percent of APD’s budget, that's $20 million and we reinvested it in other things that we will have a better return in the short run for public safety, like our EMS, response to COVID, like substance use treatment and domestic violence shelters,” said Alter.

Virden disagrees with council's decision. “It would have been of utmost importance to have brought Austin Police Department leadership to the table so they could have some say. The city council seemed to have reacted to the loudest voices rather than the City of Austin at large,” said Virden.

Alter also believes her opponent doesn't know much about other pressing issues for the district.

“There are other issues besides the dog whistles and talking points that my opponent is raising. District ten is a district that has really interesting development challenges and some development agreements laws and regulations that are very complicated,” said Alter.

"Everybody is in agreement on wildfire prevention, EMS and those kind of things that are important to everyone,” said Virden.

In the general election, Alter won 34 percent of the vote, Virden won 25 percent, bringing them to a runoff.