City Council candidate profile: Austin Head

Austin Head
Photo courtesy of Austin Head

A former bi-coastal entertainer with multi-media success in social media engineering, event production and live performances in venues from Los Angeles to New York has found a new way to make a difference in the community.

Austin Head is running for Phoenix City Council in District 4 with the aim of speaking for the voices that aren’t represented on the council.

Head said he was physically assaulted last November in a violent hate crime that fractured several of his facial bones.

“No citizen of Phoenix deserves to live in fear or to be subjected to discrimination,” he said.

The event encouraged him to run for city council to ensure affordable and accessible transportation, a strong platform for the creative arts and to maintain the safety of a diverse community.

“The reputation of the city is lacking,” Head said. “The light rail doesn’t service the people that actually need it.”

Mich Lyon, Arizona State University professor at the School of Politics and Global Studies, said there are 29 light rail stations in Phoenix, with nine in District 4.

Lyon, a Phoenix light rail user, said the city raised fares from $1.50 to $2.00 on March 1, 2013, with an all day pass at $4.00. The light rail has also decreased trips from six to five times per hour.

“The city is only increasing the tax and decreasing the service because we’re not represented in the council.” Lyon said.

Lyon said he has known Head for several years as a friend and volunteer, and that “he’s very responsible, experienced and intelligent, which are all the qualities we need in the city council.”

Head said he was a waiter 10 years ago and that “finding a way to get home was always an issue.” There are 44,000 riders a day, and 33 percent of them are ASU students, he said.

“Austin rides the light rail and is going to be the first person on the council to represent us,” Lyon said. “All the other councilmen drive cars.”

Lyon said that the success of a city lies within its redevelopment and the city’s youth inhabiting it. He said 40 percent of Phoenix’s land is vacant and that it’s important to incentivize downtown development.

He said the city needs someone like Head “to do the right thing for downtown Phoenix.”

“You have to have a vibrant urban core to get young people to live here,” Lyon said. “Austin is the voice for the new generation.”

The City Council election is scheduled for Tuesday, August 27. Find your council district.

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