How can the City better work with Austin’s tech community to bring innovative approaches to civic challenges?

Rich DePalma

City Council, District 8

I feel that the city has taken great strides on this – creating many paths for inclusion in city projects and decision making – but there is so much more to do.

Austin thrives off it’s talent and creative solutions for any challenge. We also have some dedicated leadership that believes in identifying problems, pragmatic solutions, and setting precedent for other large cities to follow. Some people or districts may not even recognize or identify with certain challenges exist until new tools are invented that challenge the status quo and our community will not benefit from ideas that remain unexecuted. We need to welcome innovation, strengthen our economy, and not compromise on public safety – all reasons for governance.

While state laws dictate how we may govern, we must maintain the control and freedoms that we have in our city and work together to achieve solutions. I would like to see more paths for the community to participate in city planning. I commit to spending time in and with my community rather than expecting them to come to city hall. It is through these public conversations that we can identify how to be more inclusive as well as the micro issues that affect our respective districts and constituents. I have spent almost 20 years consulting with private businesses and the public sector – primarily in procurement, which is one of the biggest hurdles that our community and businesses face when they wish to present innovative solutions.

As we see applications and solutions designed to enable participation, collaboration, efficiency and self-sufficiency, we must also invest in reducing barriers to access and use technology – focusing efforts on our most marginalized demographic groups in Austin (persons of color and the elderly) – ensuring that ALL residents have the tools needed for access to services, employment, education and cultural and civic participation. The goal being that with these tools, residents further their own lives as well as those of their families and improve our community at-large.

My campaign motto is Solutions over Politics and commit to sticking to that so that we solve problems rather than create them.