Leslie Pool kicked off her campaign this last Tuesday, calling herself a progressive, community-serving leader who would prioritize affordability and property tax reform, quality of life, the environment, and women’s healthcare choices.
About 70 people came out to the event, held at The Frisco on Burnet Rd. Prominent backers Laura Morrison and Brigid Shea introduced Pool. Pool’s former boss at the legislature, District 5 City Council candidate Ann Kitchen, attended. So did Pool’s current boss, Travis County Precinct 5 Constable Carlos Lopez.
Pool, who said she moved around a lot as a child, came to Austin 34 years ago and saw a place where she could put down roots to raise her daughter. “I want to find solutions to Austin’s cost of living so we’re not priced out of our homes, and new families can come and live here too.”
Pool, who worked at TxDoT for eight years in the 1990s, said she would consider all options to address traffic congestion. TxDOT, she said, wasn’t good at listening to the community. “They thought they could just pave everything and make it better. We know that laying concrete is not the answer to our traffic congestion problems.”
Quality of life means protecting the amenities that Austin’s neighborhoods rely on – “the schools, the parks, the pools, the libraries.” Austin’s funky and local business community also adds to quality of life, she said. “The Frisco – it fills a niche and makes our community fun, and interesting. It’s a place we want to call home.”
Austin’s very success in achieving a high quality of life has made it a challenge to preserve affordability, Pool acknowledged. She said she would apply her passion for problem-solving to tackle that conundrum.
Laura Morrison introduced Pool. “Leslie brings the values, she brings the expertise, and she brings the effectiveness.” Morrison ticked off the numerous boards, commissions, and bond task forces that Pool has served on. She called out her experience at the legislature and in law enforcement through her work at the constable’s office. “All of that will come into play, and serve her and you well, when she’s on City Council.”
“When you’re on City Council, you get to deal with EVERYTHING,” Morrison said to laughter. “It’s wonderful that she has all this experience. She’ll be able to hit the ground running on so many issues.”
Morrison emphasized Pool’s commitment to neighborhoods. “Most recently she was one of the co-founders of the Bull Creek Coalition, that pulled together a lot of different interested and adjacent neighborhoods around the TxDOT Bull Creek land. They successfully advocated at the city, and at the state, to improve the development at that site.”
Brigid Shea, a former council member and the Democratic candidate for the Precinct 2 Travis County Commissioner’s Court, recalled Pool’s opposition to Water Treatment Plant #4 when she served as Betty Dunkerley’s appointee on the Water-Waste Water Commission. “There was tremendous pressure from the engineering community, from the contracting community, from the Chamber, from the Real Estate Council, from so many different quarters, that we had to build Water Treatment Plant #4.”
“Leslie did her homework. She looked at the facts and she studied the issue. She decided, this is not the right thing to do.
“Now, years later, we have candidates running for office who are saying, ‘We really shouldn’t have gone ahead with WTP #4.’ Well I want somebody on Council who’s going to figure that out when they can still do something about it!”