Know what you’re voting for in 2022 midterms: policies of local, state candidates


Julius Shieh

Students wait in line at the FAC to vote on Nov. 02, 2021.

Ali Juell and Celeste Olivarez

On Monday, early voting kicks off for this year’s midterm elections and will be open until Nov. 4 for voters to cast their ballots before Election Day on Nov. 8. UT students and community members can vote on campus at the Flawn Academic Center and Sid Richardson Hall in addition to other Travis County polling locations. Here’s some of the candidates on the ballot this year.



As governor, Greg Abbott has focused on border security, the Second Amendment and supporting pro-life legislation, launching initiatives like Operation Lone Star and a recent abortion ban that prohibits the procedure except in some cases to save the mother’s life. Gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke plans to reverse Abbott’s anti-abortion measures and repeal permitless carry if elected. O’Rourke also said he wants to ensure a safe, legal and orderly immigration system by reaching out to communities on the Texas-Mexico border. 

For more information on O’Rourke and Abbott’s stances on major issues, read here.


Attorney General

Incumbent Ken Paxton has held the position of attorney general since 2015 and has worked with the state senate to create legislation focused on abortion restrictions, gun rights, border security and voter identification. Challenger Rochelle Garza’s campaign has focused on reproductive rights, voting protections and accessible health care. Garza said she’ll support community health care by trusting the science and following the advice of qualified experts to keep people safe. Concerning civil rights, Garza said she will refuse to defend laws that infringe on reproductive rights and will dismantle Paxton’s election integrity unit.


Railroad Commissioners

The Texas railroad commissioner oversees the state’s oil and gas industry and was involved in the response to the statewide power outages in February 2021. Incumbent Wayne Christian maintained that renewable energy sources largely contributed to the outages, and his website says he continues to support free market regulations on the gas and oil industry. Challenger Luke Warford believes commissioners should, “establish a clear weatherization standard” and make sure future storm preparations are in place and accessible, according to his website



State House Representative Celia Israel and State Senator Kirk Watson are considered frontrunners on the ballot for incumbent Mayor Steve Adler’s position, who has reached his two-term limit. The six-person race also includes Phil Campero Brual, Anthony Bradshaw, Jennifer Virden and Gary Spellman. In addressing the city’s housing and affordability crisis, Israel has called for using public land to improve the housing supply for working families and older residents. Watson said he believes “comprehensive reform” to the city’s land development code is necessary and can be achieved by council districts setting their own local measures based on the needs of their constituents.


Council District 9

The UT campus, West Campus and some surrounding neighborhoods are zoned to District 9 in the Austin City Council. As Council Member Kathie Tovo departs, eight candidates are vying for the open seat. Candidates are majorly focused on addressing affordable housing and transportation. 

Candidates Ben Leffler and Zohaib “Zo” Qadri have advocated for increased affordable housing for university students and faculty. To improve the city’s housing problems, Joah Spearman, Linda Guerrero and Greg Smith have called for decreased housing fees. Tom Wald and Zena Mitchell have expressed a desire for an improvement in housing offerings, with Mitchell advocating for a rent-to-own program and Wald calling for increased housing units.

On improving the city’s public transportation, the majority of candidates support the proposed transit plan Project Connect, but Kym Olson has expressed concerns regarding damages from city infrastructure while Guerrero said she also worries about its impact on local businesses and the environment. Mitchell supports Project Connect but is against expanding Interstate 35.