by Sebastian Wren
Greg Casar is working hard to stay connected to the people in City Council District 4. Despite a Council Member schedule that burns the candle at both ends and then some, Greg is making every effort to get out into his district as often as possible to stay in close contact with the people who live in North Central Austin.
He is working with his staff to try to hold “office hours” in various locations throughout his district on most Fridays. His busy schedule does not always allow for these community-meeting style office hours, but when he can, he likes to get out and make himself accessible to the people who live in District 4.
In describing the public meetings, Casar says: “I see my in-district office hours as a critical piece of fulfilling the promise of 10-1 government— giving Austinites the power to identify and meet their own needs through their local elected officials. So far, my office hours have been a great tool for giving constituents an opportunity to talk about the issues most important to them at locations all across District 4.”
At a recent forum held at Little Walnut Creek Branch Library, many people remarked that they had never seen a Council Member or any city leader come out to meet with residents in that area of Austin — to listen to their concerns and ideas for ways to improve Austin. While people at the meeting occasionally seemed frustrated with trends in Austin or the slow-wheels of bureaucracy, virtually every citizen in attendance gave Casar high praise for coming out and meeting with them to listen to their concerns.
In the future, Casar’s office hours will each be targeted around one policy area, so that constituents interested in that policy area can work together to develop solutions and advocate for change at City Hall. Casar thinks this targeted approach will help his constituency move from identifying problems to implementing solutions. Office hours will be held on a published list of Fridays and Saturdays. Council Member Casar plans to rotate locations to give more residents a chance to visit in an area that is near them.
Casar plans to send out emails, post on social media, and post flyers on bulletins about future times and locations. Casar reports that his next sets of District 4 Office Hours are scheduled to be on March 13th from 1pm to 4pm at a location to be determined. If you’d like to be added to Casar’s email list, you can drop him a line at Greg.Casar@austintexas.gov. You can also follow his Facebook feed: Facebook.com/GregorioCasar.
Council Member Casar, currently a resident of Northfield, also frequently has representation at the Northfield Neighborhood Association meetings (the first Monday of every month at Dayspring Chapel). If he is not able to attend personally, he frequently sends one of his staff members to attend, take notes, and listen to concerns.
Greg Casar isn’t just the youngest Austin Council Member ever elected, he is also arguably one of the most energetic and accessible Council Members Austin has ever known.