Cesar is the President of AURA and has a background in community and labor organizing. He worked on political campaigns for progressive candidates and for the Service Employees International Union for 8 years. He moved to Austin in 2015 to get his Master’s degree in Community and Regional Planning from the University of Texas. Cesar now works as a Community Development Project Manager with GrantWorks and also represents the St. Johns Neighborhood on the City’s Community Development Commission. Cesar’s priorities working with AURA are to improve equity in community outreach, accessible transit infrastructure, and affordable housing for renters, homeowners, and people experiencing homelessness alike.
Caroline is a Hazard Mitigation Planner at GrantWorks, Inc. As a Houston native, she knows that cities should be compact, connected, and accessible rather than sprawling and car dependent. Caroline moved to Austin in 2015 to pursue a Master’s in Community and Regional Planning from UT Austin and loved the city so much that she decided to stay after graduating. As a deaf woman, Caroline is passionate about bringing disabled perspectives to urban planning and related fields. As a renter, Caroline also knows that Austinites need to have the choice to live in any kind of housing anywhere in Austin, not just in single-family homes. She is also on the Leadership Council of UP Club, a group for young professionals in planning, landscape architecture, urban design, and architecture to meet and network. She also enjoys reading all the books, happy hours, playing board games, and trying new things that seem uniquely Austin such as axe-throwing and bouldering.
Timothy, AURA’s Vice President, grew up in Austin. While attending the University of Texas, he became involved with the University Democrats and the local Democratic party. He graduated from UT in 2010 with a degree in Government and History. Timothy became involved in local politics after seeing how much local discussions about land use excluded the opinions and needs of young people and renters. He worked for pro-transit, pro-housing Austin City Council candidates in 2014, 2016, and 2018. The fight for diverse, affordable, and sustainable housing and transportation is a natural extension of his progressive activism.
Jason has taught economics at Austin Community College since 2016, and prior to that he taught at Central Texas College in Marble Falls. He is very fortunate to be married to a past president of AURA, with whom he, a rising AISD sixth-grader, and a three-year-old live in the North Burnet/Gateway area. Elected to the board during the novel coronavirus pandemic, he could use a haircut.
Mike is AURA’s Secretary. His parents and siblings have been in the Austin area for 30 years. Between graduating from high school and returning for a Masters of Arts in Economics from UT-Austin, Mike lived in places with great transportation options: New York, London, the Netherlands, and Berkeley. He wants to bring those options to Austin. He hopes to use economics to both end congestion for cars and move former-drivers onto sidewalks, bikes, buses, and trains.
Liza, the Treasurer of AURA, came to the United States from the Soviet Union as a teenager in 1977 with her family as refugees fleeing repression. Once in the USA, her parents wholeheartedly embraced the American dream and moved to a new house in the suburbs as soon as they had steady jobs and income. That is when she learned to hate the suburbs and when the first seeds of a love for vibrant, walkable, human-scale, cityscapes were planted in my mind. After finishing her Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University, and working for several years in Fort Worth, Liza and her husband made our way to Austin to be closer to family. A few years ago Liza and her sister started a family business building urban homes in Central Austin with a strong vision towards a compact, connected, and environmentally sustainable Austin.