November 30, 2018

On Election Run-off Early Voting Day, the Center for Austin’s Future Recruits for its 2019 ATXelerator Class

Inaugural Class Produced Recent City Council, Commission Candidates

AUSTIN, Texas, Nov. 29, 2018. The Center for Austin’s Future’s ATXelerator program is now accepting applications for people interested in running for public office. The ATXelerator is a unique three-month series of classes designed to prepare participants to run for city council and serve on city boards and commissions by immersing them in local policy areas such as transportation, land use, public safety and the city budget. The program also trains prospective candidates how to effectively run and win an election campaign.

“In a city that has doubled in population every 20 to 25 years since its founding, it’s critical that we prepare our council members to create future-focused policy for the next generation and beyond,” said Ward Tisdale, the Center’s executive director. “While we are proud of our rich past, Austin’s best days are ahead as we become a truly global, 21st-century city where the only things that can hold us back are a lack of imagination and fear of change.”

Former City Council Member Randi Shade, who serves on the Center’s advisory board with five other former council member and three Mayors as well as a dozen community leaders, says the ATXelerator is a great primer for anyone interested in city policy.

“Knowing whether you want to run or serve is not a prerequisite,” Shade said. “The ATXelerator’s immersive experience exposes interested candidates to issues that will move our city forward, so each class member can decide the path he or she wants to take. I wish it was around when I ran for council.”

The program, which runs from Jan. 12 to April 11, features an opening-weekend retreat at The Native, eight weekly evening sessions (6 pm to 8 pm on Wednesdays) on a variety of city-government issues, and a closing retreat on running a campaign, public speaking, storytelling, media training and crisis communications. A program-ending competition culminates in a public event, the Center4ATX Games.

Danielle Skidmore, who ran in District 9 in 2018, completed the inaugural class in early 2018. Three others seriously considered campaigns in 2018 and still other participants are weighing runs in 2020 and 2022. Five members of the class currently serve on a city board or commission, including Angela De Hoyos Hart, who led the charge for robust changes in the land development during the CodeNEXT process while serving on the Planning Commission.

The Center is accepting applications until Dec. 7. Apply at

Two-minute YouTube video on the Center for Austin’s Future and the ATXelerator:

About the Center for Austin’s Future
The mission of the Center for Austin’s Future is to recruit, train and promote city council candidates who are equipped to focus on solutions that position Austin for future success, sustainability and an excellent quality of life. The Center’s signature program is the ATXelerator, which aims to encourage citizens to pursue and prepare for elected office and board/commission service through a technology accelerator model. For more information, visit: