Celia Israel, a longtime Austin community leader and political activist, announced her intention to run for the District 50 State Representative seat currently occupied by Mark Strama, D-Austin.
Strama had announced Feb. 20 that he would not seek re-election for the North Austin district that covers that also covers portions of Pflugerville and areas east toward Elgin.
Israel, who has served on boards for nonprofit groups Alliance for Public Transportation, Capital Area Food Bank of Texas and GENaustin, the Girls Empowerment Network, said her involvement in community initiatives and local politics makes her qualified for the position.
“I have the deepest and widest political and community roots than any other candidate so far,” Israel said.
She served on the GENaustin board for seven years and is the outgoing president for the APT, which aims to promote public transportation in Central Texas. She said she plans to focus her campaign on some of the issues she is passionate about such as mass transit, the cost of higher education, women's health and affordable housing and land use.
“I realize that not everyone will be as supportive of mass transit … but these are all long-term visions that I have,” she said.
Israel has lived in Austin for 31 years, 13 of those in District 50. Her involvement in politics began in her early 20s after coming to Austin to attend the University of Texas. She worked as an aide to former Gov. Ann Richards, a job that she said had a great effect on her.
Though the election for the Dist. 50 seat is more than a year away, Israel said it was necessary to start her campaign early. She has already obtained the support of City Councilman Mike Martinez, former Mayor Gus Garcia and Dist. 51 State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin.
“These campaigns require ground support and financial support,” she said.