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Kathie Tovo is a dedicated advocate for working families and everyday Austinites, with a long career in public service, both as a community leader and an elected official where she championed progressive values at City Hall.


Kathie is well-known for her commitment to honest, transparent, and community-driven government. First elected to City Council in 2011, Kathie has a proven record of standing up for women, workers, immigrants, and the LGBTQIA+ community.

Kathie was elected by her colleagues to serve as Mayor Pro Tem from 2015 to 2019, providing leadership and institutional knowledge during the historic transition to geographic representation (10-1). Kathie was re-elected to her District 9 Council seat in 2018 and served a third term on the Council, ending in January 2023.

Currently, Kathie is an adjunct faculty member  at the University of Texas. Kathie understands the value of education and is committed to investing in young people.


Kathie is running for Mayor on her proven, progressive record of effective leadership.

Kathie is an inexhaustible fighter for the folks in Austin who can’t afford high-paid lobbyists to advance their interests. She believes in an Austin where every person has the right to succeed. She knows that Austin can be a city where the workers and families who have built this community, who keep the lights on, who keep the gears turning, and who show up every day in the hopes of a better life for their loved ones can remain and thrive.


As Austin faces rising housing costs and a widening wealth gap, families are losing their homes and being priced out of Austin’s neighborhoods. Addressing these challenges requires a leader like Kathie who recognizes the value of investing in Austin’s families. She has a proven record of supporting policies that emphasize building generational wealth and expanding access to affordable and family-sized housing.


Kathie championed efforts to invest in childcare – not only to help child care facilities re-open after the pandemic, but to help strengthen them so that the childcare industry could emerge stronger. Kathie also successfully called for the inclusion of childcare centers where feasible at all newly constructed city buildings. Kathie remains committed to stabilizing and expanding our childcare ecosystem so all parents and caregivers can participate in our workforce with access to high-quality, affordable childcare for their children.


She holds a clear vision for a community that is safe, affordable, and resilient. It is under these three pillars that Kathie has pursued policies with a goal of improving the social and economic well-being of all Austinites.


During a pandemic that resulted in widespread job losses and economic and health crises for so many, Kathie worked with her colleagues to invest dollars and create policies that helped keep people housed and fed and supported our arts and music communities.

Kathie led on an innovative program that paired area school districts with local restaurants and provided more than 1 million healthy free meals to parents and caregivers of area students. At the same time, participating restaurants were able to retain an estimated 100 employees at a living-wage rate.


Following the devastation of Winter Storm Uri in February 2021, Kathie introduced a strategy to create neighborhood resilience hubs to serve as emergency shelters during extreme weather events or disasters that threaten the health and safety of community members and to be trusted community places on "blue sky" days. These hubs are designed to meet the needs of diverse communities, and the City is currently creating this network today.

Kathie recognizes that climate shocks will occur with greater frequency and intensity, and that we must continue implementing  recommendations from the Climate Equity Plan and creating innovative plans that foster community preparedness to save lives and reduce recovery costs. On that score, Kathie’s foresight on climate issues led to the creation of Water Forward – a far-reaching plan that will ensure Austin’s water future for the next 100 years, focusing most heavily on water-conservation strategies.

There is much more to do to navigate the storms on the horizon and come out stronger—and Kathie is committed to advancing this work with the urgency and passion it requires.


Anyone who has followed Kathie’s work knows that she believes in taking bold action. In 2016, she led the City in creating the Sobering Center to provide a safe place for individuals to sober up and, if appropriate, to be connected to supportive services. The Sobering Center serves as a diversion from jail or the emergency room and assists a wide range of individuals, from festivalgoers to individuals experiencing homelessness.

On Council, Kathie helped champion negotiations to bring professional soccer to Austin.  She also ensured that the team would provide development academies to support Austin’s youth—boys and girls—and required that free tickets be distributed to youth throughout the city who wouldn't otherwise be able to attend. Today, legions of soccer fans flock to Q2 Stadium in North Austin to cheer on Austin FC during home games.


Prior to her service on City Council, Kathie had a long history as a community leader, serving as president of her local neighborhood association and vice president of the Austin Neighborhoods Council. She also was a volunteer member of several boards and task forces at the City and the Austin Independent School District, where she fought for the interests of working families.

Before becoming a Council Member she led a successful grassroots effort to stop AISD from closing Becker Elementary. The unpopular proposal galvanized parents, students, and community members to join in opposition to the closures. Kathie was also successful in proposing the creation of a tuition-based pre-kindergarten program to help working parents while enhancing children’s readiness—a model that is now in place at multiple elementary schools throughout the district.

On the City Council, Kathie chaired the Public Health, Audit and Finance, and Austin Energy Utility Oversight Committees and served on the Austin Police Retirement System and as chair of the Membership Council of the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition. She currently serves on the Austin History Center Association board and as a new member of the Settlement Club.


Kathie is a mom to two busy high-schoolers at Austin High and Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders. She is an active fan and volunteer in their activities, which include color guard, marching band, orchestra, and ballet.


Prior to joining the City Council, Kathie taught writing and interdisciplinary studies and worked at Humanities Texas, the state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. She holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin and a B.A. with honors from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  She is currently an adjunct faculty member at the University of Texas at Austin.

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