Student sees potential for city council candidiate

Ainsley Freeman, Staff Writer

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Danielle Skidmore is a mother of a special-needs child, transportation engineer, and a trans woman. She is also a candidate for Austin City Council in District 9. Skidmore has lived in Austin for 24 years with her partner and 17-year-old son. Since 2005, Skidmore has advocated for LGBTQ rights and equality for all. She has clear and attainable goals and knows the city well as she attended UT as a graduate student. She is running against incumbent Kathie Tovo who has been on the council since 2011. But Skidmore is definitely giving Tovo a run for her money. In fact, she out-fundraised Tovo by over 40,000 dollars. Skidmore will add new and bright opinions to the chorus of voices calling to make change in Austin.

Skidmore first came to Austin in 1994 in search of more job opportunities for herself and her wife. Seven years later, their son was born. He was and remains in a wheelchair. This prompted Skidmore to attend a rally for March for Dimes, an organization that works to prevent birth defects in order to improve the health of mothers and their children, in 2005.

In 2017, Skidmore returned to the capitol to protest the bathroom bill. Her outspoken opposition to the bathroom bill lead to her appointment to the Austin LGBTQ Quality of Life Commission. Her appointment is what made Skidmore decide to run for public office. Skidmore’s record of advocacy shows that she will advocate for a better Austin. Especially in this time of incredibly polarized politics, we need a representative that will support and amplify the voices in our city calling for positive change.

Skidmore’s vision for Austin is simple: equality, transportation, and accessibility for the disabled. She wants to complete sidewalk construction, provide more public transportation, and extend the water reuse network. She has fresh eyes to look at Austin through, which is what makes her such an exciting candidate.

Tovo’s major platform is her advocacy for better neighborhoods and schools. She has worked to improve our neighborhoods, as well as served on city and school boards such as the Planning Commission and AISD’s community Committee on Neighborhoods and Schools. Her public service resume spans other committees and task forces. Tovo definitely has sat on more committees than Skidmore, and has spent more time focusing on improving our neighborhoods and schools. Skidmore only wants to build more for our city. While Tovo is more than qualified to be on the city council due to her extensive experience and prior appointments, it is time for a change for District 9.

Skidmore wants to provide overdue representation for the LGBTQ community. This is important because of the scarcity of representation in Austin. The lack of LGBTQ politicians, as well as the representation of the community in general, is surprising here due to the generally liberal politics. Austin prides itself in its commitment to inclusivity and diversity, but at the moment this commitment does not present itself in our politics. Electing an LGBTQ representative would not only signal to the larger community that Austin is making steps towards being a city that welcomes all, it would give a voice to a community that is so important to Austin’s identity. To be able to say that we as a city care about inclusivity we need to act like it, and vote like it.

Skidmore would bring about a lot of positive change to Austin. She wants affordable housing for all, both immigrants and locals. She wants to protect our immigrant population from attacks by the government and citizens alike. With her support, Austin could really become the safe haven that we want to be. With full, complete sidewalks, Austinites could walk, bike, or roll wherever they would need to go. One of Austin’s major problems is traffic around and in downtown. With Skidmore representing District 9, which spans most of downtown, transportation and sidewalks would lessen the packed streets and slow highways.

She does not just want accessibility for able-bodied people, but accessibility for those with physical disabilities, as well. Skidmore wants Austin to be more accessible to people with physical limitations, like her son. Ramps by buildings and wheelchair-accessible doors will make Austin more inclusive.
Skidmore’s election would help Austin reach its full potential. With her belief in equality, her experience in disability accessibility and her connection to the LGBTQ community, she would make a huge difference. Her views and visions make her different than other candidates. She is not new to actively making differences, either.

Her life as a transportation engineer gives her the qualifications to make the changes we need to Austin’s public transport. Her life as a mother to a disabled son gives her the qualifications to make changes to Austin’s disabled accessibility. Her life as a transgender woman gives her the right to speak for the LGBTQ community. And her life as an activist gives her the right to be elected to Austin City Council, to represent District 9.

Now, more than ever, Austin needs someone like Skidmore. With the rising hostility towards immigrants and discrimination of the basis of disability, sexuality, and race, Austin will need someone as qualified as Skidmore to lead us towards better times.