Notes & Noticias: Serving Our Community

Dear Friends,

The past two weeks have been a reminder of how lucky our community is to have so many individuals who contribute so much to our shared quality of life.

From our first responders, who bravely put their lives on the line every day to protect ours, to the generous individuals who make sure no child goes in need to the activists defending against economic and environmental injustice, I’m continually grateful for all of the people who give so generously of their time, talents, and resources.

This week’s newsletter focuses on several examples of this generosity of spirit that helps make Austin such a special place.

Helping Those Who Serve Us

This week, I was honored to join Senator Judith Zaffirini for an appreciation ceremony in honor of our work passing SB 1596, which ensures that when cities in Travis County annex property, a mutually agreed plan is put in place to provide emergency services to residents.

This bill protects emergency services after annexation.

Current law allows cities to annex portions of emergency service districts (ESD’s) without determining a plan for providing those services rendered to the annexed area. This created a problem because when a municipality annexes portions of an ESD, often the municipality annexes a critical revenue source for the ESD, leaving the ESD to do more with less.

Our bill, SB 1596, provides for the protection of residents by ensuring they have no reduction in emergency services after annexation, and allows the ESD to remain in place after annexation at the discretion of the city, even after the city is providing service.

For our work, Senator Zaffirini and I were honored by 125 firefighters this week, members of the Austin Firefighters Association and Travis County Firefighters Association.

I’m honored to receive this award from our community’s brave first responders, who do such great work to protect and serve our communities. They’re the folks who deserve the trophies and certificates for their everyday commitment to keeping our families safe.

Getting Ready For School

Last week I was fortunate to participate in a school supply giveaway in Dove Springs. The event was a huge success: we handed out backpacks and supplies to over 350 children.

No family should be forced to worry about being able to afford enough school supplies for their children.

Our state needs to do more to make sure that all families have the resources necessary to prepare our kids to succeed in school.

In the meantime, I’m thankful that there are so many generous people in the community that helped make sure these students are ready to learn. Thanks to George Morales and everyone with the Dove Springs Advisory Board for their work to make this event successful.

Spotlight On: PODER

This week’s community spotlight focuses on an organization working hard to promote environmental, economic, and social justice here in Austin: PODER. PODER stands for People Organized in the Defense of Earth and Her Resources. They were founded in 1991 to address the disproportionally negative ecological impact of industrial development on communities of color in Austin.

PODER has won some major victories for East Austin, from advocating to shut down the Holly Power Plant to preventing a water treatment plant from being built in the Roy Guerrero Colorado River Park.

It’s important to recognize that while we must continue bringing good jobs and economic development to our region, our East Austin neighborhoods and communities of color cannot be on the receiving end of the negative impacts of growth. 

Thanks to the work of the committed activists with PODER, our community is vastly more aware of the need for environmental justice. I appreciate the work of director Susana Almanza and all of the PODER board of directors and volunteers for bringing not just awareness to these issues but also tangible results that benefit our communities.

AISD Back to School Bash

This Saturday, August 24, Austin ISD is holding their annual Back-to-School Bash. Families can learn about the district’s many programs and services that help students have a great school year, get access to free immunizations from Seton, participate in a safety walk and more.

Please click here to share this image on Facebook and help spread the word!

Let’s make sure all of our kids get off to a strong start this school year.

Thanks for reading Notes and Noticias! I look forward to seeing more of you around the community in the coming months.