Burnt Orange Report Endorsement for Mayor of Austin

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Burnt Orange Report Offers a Dual Endorsement of Mike Martinez and Sheryl Cole for Mayor

Voters face an important choice for Mayor this year, and a switch to a November election date will grow the potential pool of Austinites selecting their municipal leader from roughly 50,000 to potentially 300,000, if not more.

So far this cycle, no single candidate has been able to present him or herself as the clear front-runner for the challenging job of leading not only the city, but a new city council with 10 district representatives. In the end, our staff was unable to come to a consensus behind one candidate, and offers instead a dual endorsement of Mike Martinez and Sheryl Cole.

Read our endorsement of Mike Martinez here.
Read our endorsement of Sheryl Cole here.

Both have staunch progressive values and have amassed an impressive record on our Council. We suggest that your choice should come down to which leadership style you prefer.

Click here for our endorsements in the 10 district races.


Early Voting: October 20-31 | Election Day: Tuesday, November 4
Travis County voting locations | Williamson County voting locations
Photo ID is required to vote. Click here for information.



Mike Martinez for Mayor

Mike Martinez is a tireless fighter for his values whose diverse life experiences inform his work on our City Council.

What distinguishes Martinez in the race is his leadership style: he doesn’t back down from defending his position. Martinez is not afraid of bold decisions, and those of us who support him believe that his approach is what our city needs right now. The eight-year council member appears best positioned to prevent ward-style bargaining from grinding city government to a halt or preventing big ideas from coming to fruition.

Advocates for Martinez point to his nuanced understanding of energy and environmental issues, willingness to take a stand on women’s health, championing of Austin’s no-kill policy, and constant focus on affordability. Martinez was also the first elected official in the state of Texas to endorse Barack Obama, and has consistently made himself available to help progressive organizations cut through red tape to rally in the public sphere.

With the historic change coming to Austin’s City Council, we believe the voters are best served with an experienced candidate who already knows what policies have been tried and failed. And we believe progressives and Democrats are best served by someone willing to vocally and visibly fight for our shared values.

Mike Martinez merits a vote for Mayor of Austin.


Sheryl Cole for Mayor

Sheryl Cole is an experienced consensus-builder with an impressive track record of major policy accomplishments that have been largely under-appreciated in her eight years in office.

She is a tireless advocate for affordable housing and led the effort to return a failed bond package to the ballot in 2013, where it won overwhelming approval. Her work on the Waller Creek tunnel will leave a mark on Austin by revitalizing a large swath of downtown into usable space with ample community benefits, and generating millions in added tax valuation to boot.

Supporters of Cole argue that her largely consistent vision of sustainable urbanism with a healthy dose of social justice is the right fit for Austin right now. Cole partisans are quick to point out that it is our candidate who is the most progressive, touting her work on affordable housing and her focus on the neediest in Austin, often championing job opportunities for the hardest to employ.

Cole has not always championed her own good works on Council loudly enough over the last eight years. However, her ability to drive the deliberative process towards consensus and ability to dig deeply into a range of policy issues suggests that she is more than ready to handle the rigors of the top job at City Hall.

Sheryl Cole merits a vote for Mayor of Austin.



While Steve Adler has an impressive record of civic engagement and offers voters who find themselves unhappy with the current council a genuine alternative, ultimately our staff — comprised of young, progressive renters in central and east Austin — found little common ground with his policy proposals. While we think he has the potential to be a transformative leader, we remain unclear about how exactly he would carry out his impressive agenda.

Other than Adler, Cole, and Martinez, none of the other candidates in the race merit consideration.

As a progressive news source, it is also hard to overlook the underlying tension around identity politics in this race. The growing Hispanic population in Austin deserves more representation than the Gentleman’s Agreement has offered over the last few decades — as does the dwindling African American population. Austin has had only one female mayor in our history, and there have been only eleven women of color to serve at the head of the 100 largest American cities.

Ultimately, we’re confident in and comfortable with the proven progressive track record of Martinez and Cole. And this decision is a stirring reminder that voters need to make the effort to become informed before they head to the polls. Read the lengthy questionnaire the mayoral candidates answered for us, do some research, and figure out not only what each individual wants to do, but how they propose doing it, exactly. If you live here, then you need to be involved in choosing our leaders.

And when you head into the voting both, you can’t go wrong with Cole or Martinez. Both are experienced public servants with strong track records of advancing progressive values in office.


Click here for our endorsements in the 10 district races.


Early Voting: October 20-31 | Election Day: Tuesday, November 4
Travis County voting locations | Williamson County voting locations
Photo ID is required to vote. Click here for information.


Endorsements are made based on a weighted consensus of the staff, which guides the type and tone of endorsement. Members of the Burnt Orange Report staff employed by campaigns abstain from voting on those races.

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Burnt Orange Report

Burnt Orange Report, or BOR for short, is Texas' largest political blog, written from a progressive/liberal/Democratic standpoint.

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