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Which Democratic value speaks to you most?

Rich DePalma

City Council, District 8

In the traditional framework of democratic values – equality is one speaks to me the most. Without equality, how can anyone realize life, liberty, justice and the pursuit of happiness?

In the modern framework of democratic values – community service is in my blood. My family taught me the importance to fight for increased equity. In my twenties, volunteered with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund. In my early thirties, I served as chair of the Crime Prevention Council for the City of Oakland and served as then-Mayor Jerry Brown’s appointment to the Workforce Investment Board. As Vice-Chair of the City of Austin Parks Board, I raised my voice to make sure our pools are safe and accessible for black and brown communities both as social infrastructure and so that all children may have access to water and swimming lessons; because research shows drowning incidents for minority communities is higher when swimming is not available in communities. Most recently, I was a part of the AISD committee and coalition that created the facilities master plan and helped pass the 2017 AISD school bond. As board president of TreeFolks I helped move our tree plantings and giveaways to communities and schools in need. In SW Austin, I still advocate for my district’sĀ forgotten lower socioeconomic neighborhoods and the elderly who get lost in the overall financial health of the district. These are my neighbors in mobile home communities, public housing, affordable housing such as Foundation Communities, or just simply isolated in their home. I have always been dedicated to serving the community so that every person, regardless of zip code and income, has access to a better quality of life.