The Austin Chronicle

HD 47: Everybody Into the Candidate Pool

Five Dems vie to face off against Paul Workman

By Mary Tuma, February 16, 2018, News

Conservative Rep. Paul Workman, who since 2011 has represented a district which mainly encompasses the Lakeway area and dips into southern parts of Travis County, sees a GOP primary challenge from former District 6 City Council candidate and "constitutional conservative" Jay Wiley as well as Patty Vredevelt. On the Democratic ballot, five contenders are vying for the chance to unseat the incumbent.

Recovery room nurse Candace Aylor is a mental health advocate who in 2016 was elected to serve as vice chair of the Behav­ior­al Health Advisory Committee at the state health department; she also advises Austin Justice Coalition on the issue. She says she'll fight for public education and health care for all; as a domestic abuse survivor, she vows to help the legal process fairly serve marginalized and oppressed families.

Sheri Soltes is a former civil trial attorney and founder of a nonprofit that trains disability service dogs free of charge. She's focused on investing in public education, boosting health care to veterans and their families, and expanding renewable energy and water conservation.

The daughter of Civil Rights-era activists, Elaina Fowler served as chief of staff to state Rep. Helen Giddings; was a policy aide to Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole; ran a business that promotes environmental remediation; and currently works as state director of Texas retirees for AFSCME. She's for reducing dependence on public school recapture; encourages a teacher pay raise that doesn't divert student funding; calls for a path to Open Space Exemptions for property owners who want to maintain the natural conditions of their land; and hopes to address gender and ethnicity pay gaps as well as maternal mortality and morbidity if elected.

Local real estate agent Vikki Goodwin worked as a systems analyst with the Attor­ney General's Office and started her own business contracting with South Austin schools to teach children foundational computer skills. Her policy priorities include a fix to the school finance formula that includes both a cost-of-living and an inflation index; continued and stringent oversight of the CPS and foster care systems; anti-bullying legislation; equal pay; and Medic­aid expansion.

Will Simpson is the COO of a boutique recruiting firm who said he was encouraged to run after Trump's victory in 2016. He said he would work on reforming school finance and property taxes and will fight gerrymandering and suppression of minority voting by creating a nonpartisan panel to create and draw district boundaries.

This story has been updated to reflect Elaina Fowler’s current line of work. She used to run an environmental remediation company, and is currently state director of Texas AFSCME Retirees. We originally had them flipped.

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