Perla for Austin Campaign Kickoff - "Not Just One More Vote with the Majority"

Disclosure: Perla is a friend of mine. I gave her $25. Sometimes we eat BBQ together.
Cross-posted at Burnt Orange Report.

Last night the Perla Cavazos for Austin campaign got kicked off at Nuevo Leon, where Austinites packed into the East Austin establishment to get their hands on Perla Cavazos's pink & gold signs and hear her plan for the future of Austin's economy, affordability and healthcare issues.

Perla started off her speech by touching on the economic crisis, referencing the recent news that Starbucks was closing over 300 stores, the locations on South Congress and Stassney being two of them. Perla, who I first got to know when volunteering for Democratic candidate for Congress Larry Joe Doherty, admitted she was "not a Starbucks girl" (true: while blockwalking, we had a heated debate over Little City versus Progress) but that she "knows a lot of people who have jobs that pay even less than what baristas make, and their jobs don't come with health insurance."

Perla initially came to Austin to promote affordable housing, on a fellowship from the National Council of La Raza. She touched on Austin's affordability issues affecting not just coffee shop employees, but those recently laid off from tech companies or working in government jobs trying to pay the bills while saving money. Two of those Austinites happen to be her brother and sister, both in school and still working to get by.

The solution, according to Perla, is planning. She said that while serving on the Austin Planning Commission, her biggest frustration was that "we were constantly reacting." The concept of acting versus reacting, planning ahead rather than compensating later, is "what the city needs now...not just one more vote with the majority," Perla said.

Perla also discussed her "unconventional ideas," like the City of Austin partnering with schools, because while "some say schools aren't the city's role, producing an educated workforce is everyone's responsibility." She also intends to support the work of the Indigent Care Coalition in finding affordable small business health care solutions and exploring the idea of a medical school in Austin. This is an endeavor that state Sen. Eddie Lucio, for whom Perla was a policy analyst, was successful in fathering in the Rio Grande Valley, creating the Regional Academic Health Center and revitalizing the area with much-needed jobs and educational resources.

Pink is the apparently the new blue and "Perla" seems to be the new buzz-word in Austin, manifesting itself in a City Council candidate and the popular SoCo restaurant Mars orbiting into a new restaurant called Perla's (foreshadowing?). Judging by last night's turnout, the Cavazos campaign is gaining ground. Elgin activist and Perla supporter Rob Ryland texted me at the start of the evening, "This place is packed for Perla!"

To those still on the fence, Perla reminded the crowd that she is running to give the City some "advice of my own. Don't underestimate me just because I'm respectful, professional, polite and short." And she's right -- meeting Austin's needs is a tall order, but Perla Cavazos doesn't need a pair of pumps to stand up to the challenge.

If you can, stop by Perla's Campaign Headquarters Open House this Saturday, Feb. 7 from 1-4 PM.

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