Mayoral candidate Celia Israel unveils transportation plan to improve Austin, targets I-35
Mayoral candidate and State Rep. Celia Israel announced her transportation plan to help Austin's continued growth while continuing to connect communities. Israel's plan focuses mainly on the concept of mobility and ease of movement within the city.
Nix drops out of mayoral race, issues endorsement for Israel
“Since I came here in 1999, I’ve seen so many artists and creatives get priced out,” Nix wrote in her statement. “Austin is a refuge for every queer weirdo in Texas and that’s a huge responsibility.” “I couldn’t ethically stay on the ballot when I think Celia Israel would do a great (even better) job,” Nix concluded in her statement
She’s Serving Celia
“You know,” Israel says, “I'm just Celia.” Just Celia, who if elected mayor would be the first Latina elected to the office in any major American city and would also be the first LGBT mayor of Austin. Just Celia, who after graduating UT in 1982 worked for Ann Richards, who would become governor in 1991. Just Celia – even though just being Celia Israel is a pretty big deal. “It's not that I want people to vote for me because I'm Latina, or because I'm a lesbian,” she explains, “but if it helps people connect to government, then I feel like that's part of my job to tell people ‘This is your city, this is your state, come in here and, and be a part of it.’”
Celia Israel runs for Austin mayor
Watson and Israel have both rolled out housing strategies in response to what Watson calls an "emergency" and Israel a "historic crisis point." Israel's proposals are anchored in urbanist ideas, with explicit calls for more housing for working families – specifically of the "missing middle" variety, the four- and six- and 10-plexes and live/work units and row houses that are both rare and mostly illegal in Austin – and transit-oriented development along the Project Connect corridors. In what's become a key slogan of her campaign, Israel says, "This election is about who can afford to live here, and who gets to decide."
Celia Israel runs for Austin mayor
The LGBT Victory Fund has endorsed Israel, who said she’s embraced her differences. If elected, she won’t be the first lesbian mayor of a major city in Texas. That title goes to former Houston Mayor Annise Parker, who now heads the Victory Fund. But, if elected, Israel would become the first Latina mayor of a major American city. “Celia has a distinguished record in the House,” Parker said. “She appeals to folks in the city who have felt marginalized and want change and inclusion.” Parker said Watson is well-respected, well-known and well-funded.
Celia Israel seeks to be a progressive voice for Austin
There’s one other element of Israel’s candidacy that she feels is crucial: that she is a Latina and a member of the LGBT community. To her, representation in public office matters. “If we want to engage more people to get involved in the democratic process, it helps that you have people that look like them,” she says. “When I was a 9-year-old girl growing up in El Paso, I didn’t have a Celia to look up to, whether that was LGBT advocacy or advocating for women or advocating for Latinos.”
When Israel announced her campaign for mayor in January, she began her speech by thanking her wife and partner of 26 years, Celinda Garza. She went on to describe how she felt when she first arrived in Austin in 1992 as a scared, excited 17-year-old, 500 miles from home. Before launching into policy proposals she reminisced a bit, recalling when UT football tickets only cost $10, when Stevie Ray Vaughan was a familiar face around town, when there was less traffic….She closed the speech: “I will be a mayor for all of Austin and am inviting all of Austin to be a part of this campaign. Please join us.”
The Daily Texan
UT alumni selected as grand marshals for Austin Pride Parade
“It’s just really cool to go full circle as a baby Longhorn and baby lesbian, to now a middle-aged lesbian with a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives who has stood up for transgender kids and stood up for common-sense legislation,” Israel said. “I’m blessed to have had this journey. It’s really just been a great ride.”
Celia Israel Responds to Kirk Watson’s Redlining Plan
“That’s why I was disappointed to see my friend and fellow candidate for mayor, Kirk Watson, fail to meet the moment as he released his plan for housing. “Potentially OK; potentially awful,” is how Jack Craver with Austin Politics Newsletter described it. While Mike Clark-Madison from this publication compared it to “the much-feared ‘ward politics’” in Chicago…The most troubling part of Kirk’s proposal is his plan to give each council district the right to veto changes they deem undesirable, from apartments to duplexes. Civil rights advocates worry this is a return to redlining, while forcing all new housing options onto the Eastside, kicking displacement and gentrification into overdrive.”
Celia Israel Campaign Kicks Off “LGBTQ Austinites for Celia”
“Much of Israel’s campaign so far has focused on her “Home for All” plan to address the current housing crisis. Housing, or lack thereof, has been a pivotal point of discussion within queer circles, as many in the LGBTQIA community struggle to retain stable housing situations due to low income and discrimination. “Our community helped build the fabric of what makes Austin such a special place,” states committee member Dr. Victor Martinez via a press release. “City leaders have failed to address the growing housing affordability crisis, and LGBTQ Austinites are being forced out. Celia Israel has a real plan to address the problem and to keep Austin affordable for all our vital communities.”
Austin mayoral candidate unveils 6-part housing affordability plan
“Israel on Thursday unveiled her six-part plan to improve housing affordability within the city. It includes making it easier to build lower-priced duplexes and quadruplexes rather than single-family homes and building on more city-owned land. The candidate acknowledged her ideas would be tested by obstacles we’ve seen again and again, like zoning regulations.”
Austin at Large: Housing and the Mayor’s Race
“Last week, Israel – likely to be the major contender most amenable to Austin's left – sought first-mover advantage as the mayoral aspirants debate solutions to the city's biggest problem. "The interests of a powerful few fostered a fundamental misunderstanding of the needs of our city, and have created a historic housing crisis"… What Israel proposes in "Home for All" is a mixture of best practices to achieve incremental increases in density that other cities, even ones like Dallas, have managed to translate into new housing that isn't all the way out on the cheapest edges of town”
How Out Texas Rep. Celia Israel Put Voting Rights First in 2021
“Celia Israel, a member of the Texas House of Representatives, stood for her principles this year even though it meant personal sacrifice. She was set to marry her partner of 26 years, Celinda Garza, on the House floor July 15, but she ended up leaving Texas for Washington, D.C., three days earlier with more than 50 other House Democrats so there would not be the number of representatives required to vote on a Republican-backed voter suppression bill.”
Texas Democrats Faced Criticism for Fleeing to D.C.—But These Lawmakers See Their Gamble as a Deeply Personal Battle for the Future of Their State
“The day before Thompson spoke so emphatically in Virginia, representative Celia Israel celebrated her 57th birthday, if it can be called a celebration so far from family and most friends. It was supposed to have been her wedding day, too. Another Texas Democrat, Israel—a Latina who represents a district that includes Austin— had planned to wed her partner of 26 years, Celinda Garza, in a ceremony on the Texas House of Representatives floor, then honeymoon in Big Bend National Park. Instead, she found herself here at the U.S. Capitol in a small room, all dark wood paneling and gilded light fixtures, enumerating just what was at stake in that power battle back home.”
The New York Times
Hasty Exits and Dashed Plans as State Democrats Leave Texas to Block Voting Bill
“WASHINGTON — For many Democrats in the Texas House, the decision to leave the state on Monday to temporarily block the passage of a restrictive voting law upended a lot of plans, but few more so than Representative Celia Israel, who postponed her wedding.
After learning a day earlier that 50 of her colleagues were rushing ahead with an 11th-hour trip to Washington to deny Republicans a quorum, which is required to conduct state business, Ms. Israel called off the ceremony in a matter of hours. “It wasn’t a fun day when I had to tell my partner, Sunday, as she’s getting measured by a seamstress for her wedding outfit, that we were about to break quorum,” she said.”