TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) – Andy Brown won the Travis County Judge race with 71% of the vote, defeating Republican Rupal Chaudhari.
“(We) worked really hard to get the vote out up until today to the last minute,” Brown told KXAN. “(We) had a lot of good discussions with constituents about what issues matter to them and tried to deliver on those issues.”
The County Judge and the Travis County Commissioners Court oversee the county’s $1.4 billion annual budget. The county judge acts as Travis County’s chief administrator and is the director of emergency management.
“I think people here realize that we need to provide more mental health or behavioral health services to make this community safer,” Brown said. “So people quit circling sort of in the jail, back on the streets, in the jail, back on the streets, but actually get some help.”
In an interview prior to Election Day, Brown said his initiative on the COVID-19 vaccination rollout is his proudest accomplishment in his first term.
Brown helped vaccinate “a couple of 100,000 people on top of what we would have done otherwise,” Brown said.
He said he hopes to focus on issues of housing affordability and increasing mental services in his next term if elected.
“I make sure that I’m standing up for democratic values. I’m standing up for civil rights like abortion care, election integrity, and making sure that our community is safer by meeting people’s mental health needs by providing affordable housing and good jobs,” he told KXAN.
Chaudhari is an immigration attorney and mother of two. She said she never aspired to run for a political office or live a public life until the City of Austin decided to purchase a hotel to use as a homeless shelter in the same parking lot as one of her businesses.
Chaudhari felt the location didn’t make sense and started the “Stop Candlewood” campaign, named after the hotel the shelter would replace. She later announced her candidacy for Travis County Judge at the Travis County Republican Party executive meeting last year.
Chaudhari’s focus was on addressing homelessness, affordability and public safety.
To address these homeless, her campaign page said local government needs to adopt a “tough-love concept and not apologize for moving [people experiencing homelessness] off public spaces, such as parks, sidewalks, and nature trails. [They should not be allowed] to impede entry or endanger private homes or businesses.”
“I’m not a career politician. I look at the world differently,” Chaudhari said. “I got into politics because I want to bring more accountability and transparency, and I want a government that listens,” she continued.