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Kathie Tovo has a long career in public service, both as a community volunteer leader and an elected official with a progressive voice at City Hall.


She is committed to honest, transparent, and community-driven government with a record of standing up for issues related to climate change, immigration, women’s health, workers’ rights, and the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community.

First elected to City Council in 2011, Kathie went on to serve as Mayor Pro Tem from 2015 to 2019, providing institutional knowledge and leadership during the first four years of what was then a brand new 10-1 system of geographic representation. Kathie was re-elected to her District 9 Council seat in 2018 and is currently serving her third term on the Council.


Today, Kathie is running for Mayor on her record of effective leadership and progressive achievements.



As Austin faces rising housing costs and a widening wealth gap, Kathie understands the challenges and opportunities of this time in our City’s history. 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.


Kathie championed efforts to invest in childcare – not only to help childcare facilities re-open, but to help strengthen them so that the childcare industry can emerge stronger from the pandemic. Kathie also successfully called for the inclusion of childcare centers where feasible at all newly constructed city facilities.


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. These hubs are designed to meet the needs of diverse communities.

Kathie recognizes that climate shocks will occur with greater frequency and intensity, and that we must continue to evolve with 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 measures.



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.

In 2017 and 2018, Kathie took on the effort of bringing professional soccer to Austin. Today, legions of soccer fans flock to Q2 Stadium in North Austin to cheer on Austin FC during home games.


On the City Council, Kathie chairs the Public Health Committee, and formerly chaired and now serves on Audit and Finance and the Austin Energy Utility Oversight Committee, as well as the Austin Police Retirement System. She chaired the Membership Council of the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition and serves on advisory boards for the Partnership for Children and the Settlement Home.



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.


In 2010, she led a successful grassroots effort to stop AISD from closing nine school campuses, including five schools in East Austin. 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 that is now in place at multiple elementary schools throughout the district.


Kathie is mom to high-schoolers at Austin High and Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders. She is an active fan and volunteer in their activities, which range from color guard, orchestra, and cheer to 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.  

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