February 14, 2012—Austin, Texas— Today, Dominic Chavez announced he has filed official paperwork to compete for the Place 5 City Council seat currently held by Bill Spelman. “I love Austin because it has near limitless potential,” explained Chavez. “Austin has the human capital, ingenuity, and spirit to become a world-class community. Yet, we lack leaders willing to abandon shameless symbolic politics in favor of a true vision worthy of the community’s aspirations.”
Chavez indicated that over the next few months he intends to meet with residents and leaders to discuss plans to make Austin more affordable, our neighborhoods and schools more secure, and expand economic opportunity to every corner of the community. “Like so many people in Austin, I am increasingly underwhelmed by the choice of candidates, frustrated with the lack of geographic representation, and wish city hall’s priorities matched those of the real community,” Chavez explained. “If nothing else, I intend to restore common sense to city hall.” Chavez has identified three specific issues he intends to emphasize as he talks to community leaders. Restore financial stewardship to Austin Energy. “Conflicts of interest, repeated diversions from core functions, and political influence over business decisions have led to less transparency and long-term financial instability at Austin Energy,”
explained Chavez. “The net result is a future with escalating electric rates and fees disproportionately affecting homeowners, small businesses, houses of worship and non-profits.”
“Austin residents are right to be skeptical about short-term fixes offered by the same council members who broke the system in the first place,” warned Chavez. “We cannot establish and sustain a fair, stable and affordable rate structure if we do not fix the financial fundamentals of our energy company. And to do so we need leaders who will demonstrate strong, principled stewardship that makes affordability the first priority.” Secure our community with strategic, cost-effective investment in public safety. “As one of the fastest growing cities in Texas, we face big public safety challenges that must be tackled head-on,” explained Chavez. “While Austin is generally considered a safe city, we did not gain that reputation by skimping on investments in police, fire and EMS.” “In 2010, the office of National Drug Control Policy designated Travis County as a ‘high-intensity drug trafficking area’”, explained Chavez. “Now the Texas Department of Public Safety is warning Austin to monitor Mexican cartel recruitment activities among our middle and high school students. Austin must take these warnings seriously and provide strategic, cost-effective investments in manpower, technology, and training to prevent crime before it happens, stop crime as it happens, and solve crime when it happens.”
Make workforce education a community priority. “Austin’s economic development strategy is limited to marketing a hip culture and offering tax incentives,” explained Chavez. “To truly extend our influence in the global economy, and help attract, retain, and grow businesses in Austin, we must invest in a community-wide effort to improve and expand a well-educated, highly-skilled workforce.” “As the Austin City Council leads regional economic development efforts, it must also take a leadership role in collaborating with AISD, ACC, UT-Austin, the business community, and most importantly parents, to develop a long-term, strategic workforce development plan,” suggested Chavez. “This plan must establish specific community goals designed to improve educational outcomes from pre-K to post-secondary, as well as identify strategies to leverage the community’s ingenuity, human capital, and resources across the entire education system to support our long-range goals. Austin cannot continue to rely on importing a workforce from other states—we must grow talent locally and provide high quality educational opportunities in all corners of our community.”
Chavez has worked as a government affairs professional for more than a decade in the private and public sector. His areas of expertise include transportation, education, and economic development. Currently, Chavez serves as the Senior Director for External Relations at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board where he directs agency communication and legislative affairs activities related to the state’s higher education master plan, Closing the Gaps by 2015. Chavez is a combat veteran having served stateside for Operation Enduring Freedom after 9/11 as well as in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. During his time in Iraq, he worked with the U.S. Army’s cultural and tribal affairs operations focused on facilitating talks between Sunni tribes and the predominately Shiite central government.
Over his career, Chavez was awarded the Army Commendation Award three times and the Army Achievement Medal five times in recognition of his outstanding service. Chavez also served in other community leadership roles, including President for the Castlewood-Oak Valley Neighborhood Association in far South Austin. During his tenure, he prioritized solving local transportation problems and public safety issues impacting the area. “My breadth and depth of experiences on such a diverse range of issues and circumstances would help bring a unique and unparalleled perspective to the Austin City Council,” explained Chavez. ###