The Austin Chronicle

HD 50 Special Election Candidate Snapshot

September 6, 2013, News

Democratic Candidates

Celia Israel (

* Political activist, realtor

* Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Advocacy Chair

* Active in Alliance for Public Transportation, Stonewall Democrats, Sustainable Food Center, Capital Area Food Bank, Robert Mueller Redevelopment Committee

* Priority issues: higher ed, health care, defend the vote, public transportation

* Notable endorsements: Ann Kitchen, Betty Dunkerley, Bruce Todd, Dianne Henson, Eddie Rodriguez, Greg Hamilton, Gus Garcia, Karen Sonleitner, Margo Frasier, Mike Martinez, Valinda Bolton

Rico Reyes (

* Attorney, former Travis Co. Asst. District Attorney

* U.S. Marine veteran and reservist, worked with Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Veterans' Intervention Project

* Priority issues: public education, health care, middle-class jobs

* Notable endorsements: Travis County Sheriffs' Association, former Houston Mayor Bill White, Pflugerville Mayor Pro Tem Victor Gonzales*, former Land Commissioner Garry Mauro, former state Senator Gonzalo Barrientos

*Correction: Pflugerville Mayor Pro Tem Victor Gonzales was initially listed in error as the "former" Mayor Pro Tem; he remains in the office

Jade Chang Sheppard (

* CEO, Gideon Contracting (San Antonio), realtor

* Active in Planned Parenthood (board), Austin Children's Shelter, Texas Lyceum, Austin Chamber of Commerce, Asian American Resource Center

* Priority issues: women's health care, public and higher ed, entrepreneurship and economic development

* Notable endorsements: None yet announced

Republican Candidates

Michael Cargill*[See Update Sept. 6: did not file] (

* Owner, Central Texas Gun Works

* Active in libertarian politics, Texans for Accountable Government

* Priority issues: expanding gun rights, anti-abortion, closing Sunset Farms landfill

* Notable endorsements: On Sept. 5, Cargill endorsed Mike VanDeWalle

Mike VanDeWalle (

* Chiropractor, businessman

* Active in Austin ISD athletics and Olympics medical support, Austin Baptist Church

* Priority Issues: business deregulation, lower taxes/cut spending, "defense of life and liberty"

* Notable endorsements: Texas Alliance for Life, Texas Chiropractic Assn.

Also Campaigning

Ramey Ko (

* Not eligible for special election; anticipating March primary

* Attorney, Municipal Court Assoc. Judge, UT lecturer, public safety commissioner

* Active in Asian American Resource Center, Greater Austin Asian Chamber of Commerce

* Priority issues: economic development, public education, transportation

* Notable endorsements: None yet announced

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