Shield stories about the 2018 midterm elections

Bella Russo
Democratic candidates for governor and U.S. Senate, Lupe Valdez and Beto O’Rourke, hope to unseat Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. Greg Abbott.

Can statewide challengers turn Texas blue?

The Texas political race this year that has attracted the most national attention has been the race for one of the two Texas Senate seats. Political analysts across the country have started paying attention to this race. Political analysts and major media outlets across the country have covered it extensively. The candidates, Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz  and U.S. representative, Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso) stand at opposite ends of major issues that face the state, such as gun control, health care, and immigration.

O’Rourke, who campaigned in all 254 counties in Texas, discussed lenience for undocumented immigrants and those with DREAMer status during a debate between between the two candidates. Continue reading

School board candidate Zachary Price meets with community members at his Brewtorium campaign event. “I’m not running away from the fact that I’m young,” Price said. His opponent, Kristin Ashy, 44, has the endorsement of current District 4 Trustee Julie Cowan. Photos by Elisha Scott.

20-year-old runs for school board

Arriving at his interview with The Shield, Zachary Price burst into Thunderbird Cafe, out of breath, in a crisply-ironed purple shirt and black blazer. The 20-year-old had just come from a lecture, and to all observers he seemed like a normal college student, with his young features and bright enthusiasm, albeit an unusually well-dressed one. Price, however, is not spending his free time engaging in Greek life, playing Frisbee in the quad or tailgating before football games: he is running for the school board seat in District 4, which includes McCallum and Anderson.

“I’m not running as like, some sort of suicidal candidacy,” Price said. “I’m running because there are things I believe in that our current school board isn’t doing right, and I think it is going to take something different to make that happen. I’ve had a lot of really good conversations with parents and students and community members to make sure that they were seeing the same things I was and to hear what they were saying.”

Price is a junior at the University of Texas at Austin where he is majoring in government. In his free time, he plays trombone and soccer and presides as president over Texas Votes, an organization that registers and encourages students to vote. Continue reading


Ron James
PHONE BANKING FOR BETO: volunteers for the Beto O’Rourke campaign Shannon, Walter, Trevor, Penny, and Marcy who are residents of McCallum’s district, phone banked for Beto O’Rourke’s campaign the night before the 2018 midterm election day on Nov. 6.

Take it to the bank

Junior Jordan Bibby can’t vote yet, but with the midterms just around the corner, she’s getting involved in other ways, like phone banking.

“A lot of times people aren’t interested,” Bibby said. “It’s hard because there are people you’re calling and they don’t agree with you, and you’re not ever going to be on the same page, but it is really nice when you call someone who is like, ‘Yes, I have plans to vote, I’m going with friends.’ Or if someone wasn’t sure about voting and now they are because you called; it’s nice especially because I can’t vote yet to feel like I got someone else to.” Continue reading


Dave Winter
During early voting, a motley mosaic of political signs borders the sidewalk leading to the Old Quarry Library at 7051 Village Center Drive.

Ashy, Price vie for District 4 Board of Trustees seat

Kristin Ashy and Zachary Price are facing off for the position on the Austin ISD Board of Trustees representing District 4, which includes Anderson and McCallum High Schools. Julie Cowan, who previously occupied the position, is not seeking reelection.

“Seeing my term on the AISD Board come to an end is bittersweet,” Cowan said. “While I look forward to a less hectic pace of life and spending more time with my family, I will miss the exciting work and opportunities this service has offered. … AISD staff and District 4 principals have become friends over the last four years, and I will definitely miss the opportunity to work with them on a regular basis.” Continue reading


Olivia Watts
Kristin Ashy, who recently was elected to the Austin ISD Board of Trustees representing District 4, is sworn in by exiting District 4 representative Julie Cowan while her husband and children watch from behind. Photo by Olivia Watts.

Cruz, Board of Trustees welcome new members

Monday’s Board of Trustees meeting was a busy one. At the meeting, the board swore in newly elected trustees and thanked those trustees that were exiting the board. Four McCallum orchestra members — Julian Casas (cello), Lucy Hamre (violin), Mason Shackelford (viola) and Kavya Srinivasan (violin) — performed to mark the occasion. The board thanked many community organizations and individuals for their service to the district.

The board also officially acted to rename on of the AISD schools named after a historical figure with Confederate ties when it voted to rename the Allan building (which at one time housed Allan Elementary) after Anita Ferrales Coy, a former principal & district administrator. During the open forum period of the meeting, a group of former Fulmore Middle School students joined the daughter of longtime educator Sarah Lively to propose that Fulmore be renamed after her. The board ultimate took no other action to rename the other three AISD campuses named after figures connected to the Confederacy in some way.

Prior to the meeting, Education Austin sponsored a rally to raise awareness and protest some the proposed solutions to AISD’s budged deficit. Education Austin president Ken Zarifis urged the crowd to speak up in negotiating a budget that would best suit the needs of all AISD students and teachers. Continue reading