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Council Member Vanessa Fuentes - Biography

Vanessa Fuentes

Vanessa Fuentes proudly represents District 2 on the Austin City Council, which includes the diverse neighborhoods of Dove Springs, Del Valle, Pleasant Hill, Dittmar, Easton Park and Goodnight Ranch. It also encompasses Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, Circuit of the Americas and McKinney Falls State Park.

Since taking office in 2021 amid the pandemic, Vanessa has fought for improved health and livability by championing issues around COVID-19 response and recovery, climate resilience, transit, creative arts survival and quality of life issues. In addition to tackling these community challenges, she has taken a stand for health equity as vice-chair of the Public Health Committee by sponsoring legislation on community health workers, vaccine distribution justice, mental health services and healthy food access.

Born and raised in Central Texas to an immigrant mother from Mexico and military veteran father, Vanessa understands the unique challenges District 2 constituents face. Beginning her career in the public sector as a legislative aide focused on criminal policy reform eventually transitioning to health care focused advocacy and policy at a national nonprofit, she is a staunch advocate for healthier communities and racial justice.

With the housing crisis in mind, Vanessa introduced and passed legislation that created the displacement prevention community navigator pilot program, which will connect residents with critical housing resources. She is also making sure that the littlest Austinites have a strong start in life. This includes expanding access to dual-language, full-day pre-K for families in the eastern crescent and making library cards free to every youth in Travis County. This group will also benefit from the foundational digital equity plan she led during the fiscal year 2021-2022 budget deliberation.

Understanding the code red climate crisis and the marginalized communities who bear the brunt of its disasters, Vanessa co-sponsored the implementation of the Austin Climate Equity Plan and is committed to environmental justice, with a special emphasis on building flood resilient communities. Her efforts include connecting residents with affordable flood mitigation opportunities. Following Winter Storm Uri she quickly jumped into action with the passage of a policy to strengthen tenants’ rights and access to assistance programs.

She currently serves as the chair of the Austin Water Oversight Committee and vice-chair of the Public Health Committee and Community Advancement Network Board of Directors. She is also a member of the following committees: Audit and Finance, Psychiatric Services, Hate Crimes Task Force, and the Joint Committee between AISD Board of Trustees, Travis County Commissioners Court and City of Austin.