One of the MomCom Austin Summer speakers is Laura Pressley. She has an amazing story and she is also running for city council. I’ve had the pleasure of sitting down with Laura and witnessing her passion, tenacity and dedication to her beliefs. I asked Laura to write a post for MomCom Austin to encourage people to think about what they want for the future of Austin. Whether or not you agree with her or any of the candidates, the most important thing to do is vote. Early voting started today. Take your kids with you, show them the importance of voting, and get on out there.
I’m an Austin mom. I’m a taxpayer. I’m a voter. My name is Laura Pressley and I’m running for City Council.
This election season, we’ll see some very close races and my bid for Austin City Council will be one of them. Challenging Mike Martinez for Place 2 on the dias will be no easy task due to the corporate money bundlers he has going for him.
But we have another strategy; one that will work. It’s called listening to and working with the people.
I have testified in front of City Council on many issues from water quality to opposing corporate give aways and utility rate hikes. Do you know what I’ve seen on a consistent basis? A pattern of complete dismissal by City Council towards residents that take time out of their day, sometimes until midnight or 2 o’clock in the morning, to speak out on issues of concern to them. I’m sick of City Council not listening, so I decided to run for office. I care about the opinions and feelings of Austinites and commit to working hard on finding common ground to preserve quality of life for our families and future generations.
Austin City Council is throwing our money away. Frivolous, unnecessary projects, such as those listed below, undermine our abilities as parents to give the best to our children and communities.
When the people spoke out against Water Treatment Plant 4 in northwest Austin, costing us $500M, did the Council listen? No.
When the people spoke out against the F1 Racetrack in Del Valle, costing us $13M, did the Council listen? No.
When the people spoke out against giving Apple, Inc. a corporate subsidy, costing us $8.5M, did the Council listen? No.
When the people spoke out against energy and water rate hikes, affecting apartment complexes and our houses of worship to the greatest extreme, did the Council listen? Well, I guess we’ll have to see…
One example Council is wasting our precious tax dollars would be the corporate give aways to companies that don’t need them. Did you know Apple was allowed by City Council to build in the Round Rock Independent School District and the Austin City Council STILL gave them $8.6M in tax rebates? Austin ISD will not even receive the school tax benefits of this company’s campus expansion project even though we gave them a HUGE tax subsidy! This hurts our children’s education and enables putting critical learning institutions like Zilker Elementary on the chopping block. Our schools anchor our communities and help build tradition and memories for our little ones. I have a deep affinity for Zilker Elementary, as my daughter, Sydney, went there some 20 years ago! We cannot let Austin City Council’s terrible financial decisions affect us and our families this way.
Another example is when I spoke with the CEO of Austin Energy to question him on his internal cost-cutting methods so our rates didn’t have to go up. His response to me was that he “didn’t have the bandwidth” to do cost-cutting measures! As a small business owner, myself, I would never raise rates on my loyal customers without saving every penny I could within my company. This is not what is happening in this Austin Energy rate case. Not to mention, the Austin City Council was ready to approve the rate hike before a groundswell of public outcry was needed to put them back on track and tell Austin Energy to go back to the drawing board.
Our money is our money and we need someone who will set the expectation within our local government that Austin taxpayers do not hand over blank checks to Council for them to do as they please. Those dollars need to be carefully guarded to get the most bang for our buck!
Austin’s city budget is nearly $3 billion dollars and there is no one on the City Council with a technology and large business background. As a 17-year professional in the semiconductor industry, I served as an engineer and manager for AMD, Motorola, and Freescale. I will bring strong financial and technical scrutiny to project proposals and city contracts, focusing on keeping jobs and business local.
Austin families, education, jobs, and environmental conservation are my top priorities and we need MOMs to vote. Please join us for Early Voting (April 30th-May 8th) or on Election Day (May 12th) to help put a smart, sensible, compassionate leader into office. Together, we can restore integrity and make Austin residents a priority again down at City Hall.
Dr. Laura Pressley, Ph. D.