As a City Council member representing District 9, I will proactively advocate for housing that is affordable for homeowners AND renters, and not just those who can afford the luxury end of the market. I will work to ensure public safety and emergency workers (firefighters, EMS, police officers), professionals in our education and healthcare systems (nurses and teachers), and creative professionals who earn their wages at establishments in District 9 (musicians), have access to housing here in Austin, not outside of it.

Read Joah’s thoughts on Austin’s EMS Union’s 2022 negotiations

With Project Connect now underway after a successful bond election in 2020, the next City Council must not only oversee this $7 billion project to ensure it is on time and on budget, but also oversee the equitable and effective allocation of the $300 million in anti-displacement funds. These funds must be stewarded with a focus on long-term mobility, equity, and environmental sustainability in our city for decades to come. A growing city needs public transit infrastructure options that accommodate not only drivers but cyclists, rail riders, and pedestrians.

Live Music Capital of the World must be a real policy in action, not just a marketing tagline.
I’ve written about one way Austin should revive our live music industry: The City of Austin should own a live music venue.

One of these venues should be operated by Black-led operators and promoters. The goal and purpose of this first venue would be to stifle the long-standing inequities for talent booking, musical diversity, and promotion within “the Live Music Capital of the World” in a way that strengthens our music industry to levels far exceeding those imposed upon musicians of color.

I believe one of these venues should be operated by Austin-based music nonprofits. The goal and purpose of this second venue would be to provide a sustainable revenue stream for essential music-related nonprofits that provide invaluable services to musicians in the Austin area as they continue to experience cost-of-living increases that jeopardize their ability to create locally.

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It is about time we eradicated some of the institutional barriers to real inclusion in our City, starting with ensuring the Texas Department of Transportation embraces local ideas for re-envisioning Interstate-35 to decrease rather than increase its division of our Downtown.

As a Councilmember, I will appoint the most diverse roster of people possible to City boards and commissions, champion causes that enhance equity and inclusivity within our District – particularly as we recruit employers to our region and oversee major budgetary allocations for City-related projects and services – and work tirelessly to ensure Austin is a welcoming community for people from all backgrounds.

Longtime residents and newcomers to Austin come here to experience these establishments, not corporate chains. If we optimize for small business, we get big business, too; but local businesses suffer if we optimize solely for corporations.

When people in Austin talk about issues like affordability and sustainability, restaurant and small business owners need to be some of the key voices at these discussions, sharing insights and ideas that will move District 9 and our City forward. Restaurant and small business owners deserve the same kind of access, attention, and engagement from their City Council members as corporate developers. I will make it a point to ensure we are listening to all our entrepreneurs, not just the ones with access to millions from investors and institutions. Restaurant and small businesses that pay fair wages, source locally, offer health insurance and family leave, and give to local nonprofits are just as meaningful as out-of-state corporations.

I believe neighborhoods are special because of families, not zoning. I believe multi-generational families are what gives neighborhoods a sense of community and longevity, not zoning restrictions. Thinking intergenerationally prevents short-mindedness from negatively impacting long-term goals.

Neighborhoods aren’t just about types of zoning they have or architecture they have. Neighborhoods are places where people reside, where businesses serve customers, where communities get together, where families make memories. As the District 9 City Councilmember, I will focus on strengthening our neighborhoods by listening to the residents, engaging within the communities, and empowering families to be a part of our city planning processes.

I believe public safety is more than policing and resilience is more than reacting. I believe our police officers have been overtasked for too long and our communities would benefit from a more balanced and specialized approach to public safety. I also believe resilience planning is too often done in reaction to disasters rather than proactively to prevent the most severe impacts of disasters.

If District 9 is to play its role in bolstering the disaster preparedness and resilience of our City, we must think about food sourcing and sustainability just as we think about libraries and parks – as a civic responsibility and contributor to quality of life.

Read more of Joah’s thoughts on Public Safety & Policing

I will take a proactive stance on finding ways to partner with leaders and innovators make our government more efficient, working toward people-centric solutions with tech-powered systems. As more tech jobs come to Austin, and more digitally-savvy professionals, I would work to ensure the City of Austin – starting in District 9 – is implementing and iterating new methods that replace outdated systems with more people-first, innovation-enabled ways that empower City employees to do their jobs at a high level with minimal friction and with maximum impact in enhancing the quality of life for all Austinites.

I believe live events and public places contribute significantly to Austin’s high quality of life, and that these events and spaces should be championed, fostered and supported in ways that enhance our sense of community and belonging while also supporting creative professionals and our economy.

As a City Councilmember, I will ensure that this critical economic and creative sector remains viable. Live events aren’t just parties, but jobs and industries.

Pol. adv. pd. by Joah Spearman Campaign. This campaign has not agreed to comply with the contribution and expenditure limits of the Austin Fair Campaign Ordinance.