COMMUNITY engagement

HERE'S MY PLAN for proactive community engagement

The number one job of a city council member is to listen to their constituents. It is the duty of our elected officials and city government to provide quality public engagement opportunities for ALL voices to be heard and respected. This leads to a better representation of our community’s priorities and needs, which in turn results in better decisions and policies. In a post-pandemic Austin, I will ensure that we have culturally-competent avenues for community engagement that meet the needs of our families and friends.  

I believe that we win when everyday people, like us, have a say in the decisions that affect us. 

In my community, we have a saying, “no decision about US, without US.” I believe that we WIN when everyday people, like us, have a say in the decisions that affect us. 

Here’s my plan to provide proactive community engagement:

Expand Citizen Access & Participation

It is critical that the public is able to comment and actively participate in Austin City Council meetings regardless of whether they are held in-person or virtually. We should improve citizen testimony so that participation is available over the phone or in-person. This can include the ability for residents to leave comments over voicemails, provide recorded video testimony that can be filmed live or in advance at public libraries, etc.

Proactive Community Outreach

I believe that decisions should never be guided solely by those able to come to City Council meetings or from established networks. Instead, I will reach out proactively to our community and community organizations, including those representing communities which may lack access to information or face language barriers. This includes hosting recurring town halls, open office-hours, and weekly email newsletters.

Build a Digital Community Voting Platform

Our community should be able to register their “vote” on agenda items up for city council’s consideration. It should be paired with a verification process tied to each resident’s address to ensure the integrity of the polling. This will help provide our city leaders with more accurate information on how our communities stand on pressing public matters.

Create Capacity and Build Trust

I believe it’s important to invest in capacity-building and trust-building activities with our community. This includes providing specialized training to public-facing city staff who engage with the public so they can provide culturally appropriate feedback and capture public input. It also includes workshops and training that highlight the history of our communities and creates an open-space for constructive conversation.

Modernize Communication

I support the development and implementation of a content-creation policy that helps ensure: clear communication in everyday language across all forms of media types; improved clarity of legal public notices regarding land use cases; creation of explanatory pieces about complex topics being discussed at Council meetings.

Pol. adv. paid for by Vanessa Fuentes Campaign. This campaign has agreed to comply with the contribution and expenditure limits of the Austin Fair Campaign Chapter