Amy Babich  Candidate for Austin City Council, Place 5

Human Power Party

P.O. Box 49084, Austin, TX 78765 * (512) 453-0438 *

Position Statements
Details on Transportation Agenda
Interview with Bicycling in Austin Newsletter
Recent letters to the Austin Chronicle
Profile by the Austin Chronicle

Links to other sites
Early Voting Locations
Austin American-Statesman article about Amy, 2-8-99 (The Statesman charges $5.95 to read this article on their website, and won't allow us to reprint it here.)
Amy appeared on the cover of the October 17, 1997 Austin Chronicle, which carried a feature story about Austin cycling. (The Chronicle lets you read that article for free.)
Reviews of Amy's 1998 novel, "The Age of the Bicycle":
   Review in the Austin Chronicle
Review in MSRRT (Minnesota Library Association Social Responsibilities Round Table)
Bicycling in Austin website

Profile by the Austin Chronicle
[This is an excerpt from the Austin Chronicle's 4-14-00 article about Place 5 candidates]
Running for the Austin City Council is "not something that I ever thought that I'd do, not something that comes naturally," says Amy Babich. She's running for one reason, and one reason only: "Since everyone on the council does drive a car, they don't notice what they're doing in non-motorized transportation," she says. She speaks, almost exclusively, about transportation: how cars are bad and bicycles are good, and how the city needs to change in order to accommodate the carless. "We need to make a big effort on sidewalks. If you're going to revitalize downtown, at least think how you're going to move pedestrians and bicycles in and out of downtown." Babich supports light rail, along with "a transportation system to support light rail [such as sidewalks and bus routes]. You can't just have light rail and nothing else."
Some have questioned whether a bicycle-riding Babich would be able to effectively serve as a council member, given the heady schedule of off-site appointments a council member is expected to keep. Probably not, says Babich, but that's why she's running -- to change all that. "If it isn't [feasible], there's something really wrong with the city. It should be possible not only without a car, but without a bicycle. It should be possible for any citizen to serve on the City Council. If we're running a city of transportation haves and have-nots, and only the haves can have a say in government, there's something very wrong with the city. Especially since the haves' form of transportation involves paying tribute to the car and oil companies, which are the most destructive companies in the world."
Much of Babich's public persona has been created by her strident -- and voluminous -- output of letters to the editor of The Austin Chronicle, most of which deal with the treachery of the automobile culture and her preference for bicycles. Beyond the "Postmarks" pages and her Easy Street Recumbent Bicycles, the business she runs with her husband, Babich is not well known in the city. But there's one constituency she thinks she'd win hands-down, if only they were allowed to vote. "If kids could vote, I would win the election," she says, "because I ride the coolest bike in town, and everybody else drives a boring old car." One of her campaign issues, in fact, is kids' mobility. "Kids used to be able to get around by themselves but they don't any more; they're driven around by their parents."
Though her views on public transportation may be viewed as utopian by some, as a candidate at least, Babich is realistic -- "I hope that if I don't win, which I think is a good possibility," she says, "that some of the other candidates would be interested in these policies." (Her pleas have not fallen on deaf ears. In response, Clare Barry offered to appoint Babich to a city board or commission where she could advocate for her causes.)
Babich argues that it is exactly her outsider status that would make her a valuable council member. "I notice things that people who are on the council don't," Babich says. "My education is not in government, education, or law, it's in math and science. Most people on the council are trained in law and government, and they think if they can just make an agreement, then they can control pollution. But pollution doesn't recognize agreements. I sometimes think that people who study only man-made things don't have enough respect for the world that we didn't make. I am kind of an outsider, but in a way that might be useful."
Website hosted by Michael Bluejay, who supports Amy's campaign but is otherwise uninvolved with it.