Steve Adler was elected mayor of Austin my freshman year at UT. Since then, Austin has experienced a surge of growth, leaving a host of challenges in its wake. Chief among them — as far as students are concerned — are transportation, public safety and affordability issues; all of which bear very real consequences for our day-to-day lives, and all of which Mayor Adler has championed during his first three years in office.
In 2016, Mayor Adler successfully led the charge for the Mobility Bond, which will bring major improvements to The Drag, including safer crossings and bicycle lanes. That same year, he established the Homeless Outreach Street Team to address the needs of people experiencing homelessness in West Campus and increase safety. In addition, Mayor Adler passed an ordinance that directed the city manager to conduct a lighting study in West Campus with the goal of enhancing neighborhood security.
Mayor Adler has increased investments in affordable housing across the city, lowered water and energy utility rates, and is working on tenant protections for students in West Campus and Riverside. He has fought to preserve Austin’s live music scene – a prized part of the Longhorn experience – by expanding hours for venues along Red River Street (Cheer Up Charlies, Stubb’s BBQ, Empire Control Room, etc.). He passed and funded the newly launched sobering center, which provides a safe place for publicly intoxicated folks to sober up in a more forgiving and affordable alternative to the emergency room or jail. And the list goes on.
We are fortunate to have a mayor who cares more about getting things done than getting credit. And there is much more that needs to be done if Austin is to be a welcoming city for all students, regardless of socioeconomic background. In particular, overcrowded buses are making it considerably more difficult for students living in Riverside to commute to and from campus. Rising rent prices in West Campus coupled with exploitative leasing practices have spurred the development of a toxic housing environment that disproportionately affects lower-income and first-generation students.
Mehraz and I believe Mayor Adler is best positioned to tackle these problems and steer Austin forward. As a first-generation college graduate who worked to help put himself through school, we trust he will continue to look out for students as he manages the city’s growth. And we admire the humility and dedication with which he has served thus far.
Based on our conversations with Mayor Adler — a fellow Longhorn, I should add — and his track record of advocating on students’ behalf, his commitment to us is clear. For that, Mehraz and I proudly endorse Steve Adler for Mayor of Austin.
Becker is the student body president.