D6 runoff: Flannigan vs Kelly

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Incumbent Jimmy Flannigan and challenger Mackenzie Kelly are competing for the District 6 seat on the Austin City Council. (Flannigan photo by Jana Birchum)

Challenger Kelly disagrees with much of what the current council has done

A cliché in political writing is to call an election “high stakes,” “consequential,” or even “the most important election of our lifetime”—as we’ve heard not infrequently of late.

The District 6 runoff election for Austin City Council is arguably none of those things.

Much of what Mackenzie Kelly criticizes incumbent Jimmy Flannigan for was decided by unanimous City Council votes. So if challenger Kelly unseats incumbent Flannigan, she’ll be a lonely voice on the council on a variety of issues. She won’t be able to reverse many of the key policies pursued by Flannigan during his four years on the dais.

Yet the election could serve as a gauge for where the electorate stands with regard to some of the more controversial policies adopted by the council in recent years, including the new land code, police reform, and the lifting of restrictions on homeless camping.

Beating Flannigan—a champion of those policies—would be a signal that D6 voters are fed up with the direction of the council.

Ellen Troxclair

A win for Kelly, a Republican, also would add a bit of ideological diversity to a council that hasn’t had a GOP member since Ellen Troxclair chose not to run for reelection in 2018. The current members, all Democrats, don’t always agree with each other, and many local issues aren’t readily identifiable with partisan causes. Yet ideological affinities can make consensus more likely on some votes.

Don Zimmerman

A vocal GOP dissenter on the dais could slow down deliberations and alter the public discourse. That was certainly the case during D6 Republican Don Zimmerman’s two-year stint on the council after his election in 2014.

In these respects, the D6 runoff election is indeed “consequential.” Flannigan lost to Zimmerman in a 2014 runoff and then beat him in the 2016 rematch.

The district, which straddles the Travis-Williamson county line in North Austin, is grappling with traffic congestion, suburban sprawl, and rising home prices and rents. Commuters from neighboring communities to the north—Cedar Park and Leander—pass through daily on their way to work.

D6 contains long stretches of commuter routes like US 183, SH 45, RM 620, and Metro Rail’s Red Line. Apartments have cropped up along transit corridors, but much of the district remains single-family neighborhoods. The City’s demographic profile for District 10 indicates that 57.1 percent of housing units were owner occupied, according to 2010 census data, unchanged from 2000 census data. Apart from strip malls and office complexes for companies like Apple, Flex, and Visa, D6 lacks the density of central Austin districts.

This has made questions of land use, property taxes, and traffic management important for D6 voters, and candidates battled over those issues during the general election campaign. Flannigan, a booster of the controversial Land Code Revision, won 40.2 percent of the votes in the November 3 general election.

But candidates who opposed the rewrite collectively took a majority of votes. Kelly won 33.4 percent, moderate Democrat Jennifer Mushtaler won 19.1 percent, and Dee Harrison, who voted in 13 GOP and two Democratic primary elections, won 7.3 percent.

Runoffs must focus on turnout

As in all runoffs, the question now isn’t just who gets the losers’ share of November 3 votes, but which candidates can get their general election voters to turn out again. This time neither candidate can count on up-ballot candidates of their own party to drive turnout.

Flannigan is looking to drum up enthusiasm among Democrats by casting his opponent as an extremist associated with far-right groups. During a debate with his opponent November 30, Flannigan said, “I am the only candidate in this race that has continued to refuse to stand with groups that espouse White Nationalism.”

He was referring to a group photo taken at a pro-law enforcement rally November 1 in which Kelly is seen with members of the far-right Proud Boys, who flashed a white power hand sign. The rally was organized by a motorcycle club known as the Wind Therapy Freedom Riders.

Kelly repudiated the Proud Boys’ views, saying, “Unfortunately my opponent has been gaslighting and telling the community that I refuse to denounce these groups when I have in fact done so publicly. I do not stand with White Nationalists, I do not support racism, and the circumstances revolving the photo that he’s speaking about were such that I did not know that those people were present.”

Flannigan also attacked Kelly after he had a run-in November 21 with the Wind Therapy Freedom Riders, saying on Facebook live, “My runoff opponent has refused to repudiate this group or their tactics, even when asked directly, because these are her friends.”

The group’s leader is Luis Rodriguez. Flannigan said that video of his confrontation with Rodriguez showed that he was physically intimidated and harassed. He framed the election as a choice between “my opponent and the hateful and aggressive people who orbit around her—or the work I continue to do, bringing people together, solving problems.”

Kelly said that the video of the incident merely portrayed “a bunch of angry men shouting back and forth.” Her campaign hit back at Flannigan for a “hateful pattern of name-calling and verbal abuse not befitting of an elected official.”

Amidst the mudslinging, it’s easy for voters to lose sight of the issues at stake in this election. The Bulldog put together a rundown of key information on the candidates’ views on select topics.

Homeless camping ban

Flannigan and Kelly differ over whether it should be illegal to camp on public land. The council rescinded an ordinance restricting public camping June 21, 2019. It partially walked that back in October 2019, when it voted to restore restrictions in parts of town, and near business entrances.

Since then homeless camps have appeared in new parts of the city, while existing camps have grown to include more tents and structures. Flannigan said at a candidate forum November 30 that his district has several new sites with “five or six or seven tents popping up.”

Kelly wants the original ordinance restored. At a candidate forum September 30, she advocated for “policies that work towards identifying and treating the systemic problems that cause homelessness.”

“Those types of solutions are safe and compassionate. Living in unsanitary and atrocious conditions is not.”

Kelly serves as president of Take Back Austin, an advocacy group focused on the camping ban. She also led a volunteer cleanup of an abandoned camp in May, an experience that she showcased in a campaign video.

For his part, Flannigan doesn’t see the relaxed camping ordinance as problematic, but rather as a necessary step to decriminalizing and destigmatizing homelessness. “Make no mistake. Simply banning camping does not solve homelessness,” he said at the November 30 debate. “All it does is move these humans, these neighbors, back into the shadows where we saw increased levels of crime against these folks.”

He envisions a massive local, state, and federal effort to get the homeless into housing. Flannigan convened an October 19 City Council committee discussion to review the city’s strategy on homelessness. He cited “great efforts” to help the homeless, “from purchasing hotels and additional funding allocated for permanent supportive housing, to historic budget allocations in mental health and social services, to policy changes to better serve those in need.”

“This isn’t the city’s issue alone to solve, as it takes a huge community collaboration, with county, state and federal contributions as well.”

Lost in the debate is a middle-ground perspective. Some of Flannigan’s own council colleagues have taken a position somewhere between his position and that of Kelly, advocating for somewhat tighter restrictions on where the homeless can camp, but not a blanket ban.

Leslie Pool

At an October 17, 2019 council meeting four council members—Alison Alter, Ann Kitchen, Leslie Pool, and Kathie Tovo—introduced amendments to ban camping under highway overpasses where there is a U-turn lane, on wheelchair ramps, and in creek beds or rivers.

These motions were voted down 4-7, according to minutes of the meeting. They also sought to ban camping in storm drains or culverts, a motion that narrowly failed by a 5-6 vote (with Council Member Sabino “Pio” Renteria also supporting).

Leslie Pool said at the meeting, “What happens if at 2am on a Friday night an 18-wheeler comes through the Texas U-turn and mows down that camp site and kills the people that are on the median…(then) that’s on us. Is that okay? I don’t think that’s okay at all.”

Rights of the homeless

Due to a recent federal court ruling, a total ban on public camping likely wouldn’t hold up. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in September 2018 struck down a Boise, Idaho ordinance that fined homeless people for sleeping on public property. The court found that the ordinance violated the U.S. Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

The Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal, leaving the Ninth Circuit ruling as a key precedent. Advocates have cited the ruling as a reason to eliminate Austin’s restrictive camping ordinance.

Notably, however, the Ninth Circuit didn’t say that a local government couldn’t restrict where the homeless camp. It just said that a city can’t totally prohibit public camping everywhere, “when no sleeping space is practically available in any shelter.” Nor did the court say that the homeless have a right to erect structures on public property.

The Ninth Circuit pointed out that the Boise ordinance was sweeping, criminalizing the use of “any of the streets, sidewalks, parks or public places as a camping place at any time.”

Kelly herself has acknowledged that if the city reinstates its camping ban it would still have to provide somewhere for the homeless to stay or to camp. She said at a November 30 forum, “By repealing the camping (ordinance), we are not going to recriminalize homelessness. We need to give them a specific location to go to where they can have their needs addressed and we can work to lift them up out of that situation.”

To that Flannigan responded, “Repealing the camping ban is criminalizing homelessness. Make no mistake. Until you are able to identify exactly where you want people to go, which does not exist in this community at the scale at this time—that is essentially the challenge—until you can say where in District 6 you want camping to occur, you cannot simply recriminalize it and think that it is going to make the problem go away.”

Property taxes

During the campaign, Flannigan repeatedly has called himself “a voice for fiscal responsibility.” He said in a recent candidate questionnaire, “I have worked to rethink and build systems that are sustainable and do not result in massive future tax increases over the long term.”

On his campaign website he claims to have “successfully limited tax increases in the 2018 and 2020 city budgets (and voted against the 2017 and 2019 budgets),” and he made the same claim in a candidate forum.

However, Flannigan’s actual voting record on property taxes tells a different story. He voted once against a tax increase (in 2017), and three times to increase the effective tax rate (in 2018, 2019, and 2020), according to minutes of council meetings in those years. The effective rate is the rate at which the city would generate the same amount of revenue as in the prior year.

Flannigan’s claim to have voted against the budget in 2019 is misleading when referenced in connection with property taxes. The transcript and minutes of the September 10, 2019 budget adoption meeting show that his “no” vote had nothing to do with the tax rate, which two weeks later he voted to increase. Rather, he was concerned about something called the Budget Stabilization Reserve Fund, which he thought was being underfunded.

This year Flannigan voted to put Proposition A on the ballot, which boosted the city’s tax rate by 20.4 percent, according to the city’s official tax rate notice. Proponents of Proposition A, including Flannigan himself, have pointed out that the overall tax burden (the bill for all tax jurisdictions) for property owners on average will rise by about 4 percent.

Regarding future tax increases, Flannigan was asked at a joint chamber forum September 21 whether he would commit to “holding the line” at a maximum 3.5 percent increase per year, which is the threshold for triggering a tax election. He responded, “Police, fire, and EMS are the largest parts of the budget, and if you want to find a significant tax break you’ve got to tell me how you’re going to do it. That’s what I’ve been doing as chair of the public safety committee, which is the most fiscally responsible reform movement in municipal history.”

In response to the same question, Kelly said, “I absolutely do not support raising taxes over the limit.”

“We can’t continue to raise taxes to a point where Austinites are priced out. Our economy needs to be prepared before council continues to overtax us. We cannot afford it due to the recession. We need to hold the line on taxes and give Austinites a break.”

Land development code

Flannigan and Kelly have clashed over land use regulations. Flannigan is a strong proponent of the code rewrite known colloquially as CodeNEXT. Officially that name has been dropped in favor of the blander “Land Development Code Revision,” which the council approved on second reading in February 2020, before it got tied up in litigation. Before the process was halted, the City paid CodeNEXT consultant Opticos Design Inc. more than $7.8 million, according to Austin Finance Online.

Flannigan has argued for denser development, particularly along transit corridors, saying this would address the city’s lack of housing affordability. The new code would boost housing supply in the city, though critics say it also potentially would radically change the nature of single-family neighborhoods, by allowing more multi-family units.

Flannigan voted for the latest code revision, though he said he didn’t appreciate “every compromise that’s been necessary in order to get the votes across the dais.” In other words, he wanted a more ambitious rewrite.

On the other hand, Kelly would not have supported the latest version of the code rewrite. At a November 30 candidate forum, she said, “I do think that the Land Development Code needs to be changed, but it needs to be changed in a way that promotes quality of life. A lot of times, single family home ownership is the biggest investment that a family can make. And so their property rights need to be protected.

“I’m all about making sure that we have high density housing in the right places, especially along corridors, but there needs to be improvements to parking, and there needs to be ways for people to get around before it becomes too congested,” Kelly said.

Flannigan retorted that it was easy pay lip service to increasing housing density but harder to make it actually happen: “In order to have a conversation about this, you cannot just talk in high-level phrases about corridors and solutions. You actually have to put pen to paper and put it on the map. And that is always where the challenge comes. It’s very easy to say, ‘Oh, you should put density on a corridor,’ because the people that you’re talking to don’t think you mean the corridor that they live on.”

Kelly and Flannigan also disagree about whether the city should be pursuing litigation in the case Acuña, et al. v. City of Austin, et al., which involves a question of landowner protest rights in citywide rezoning cases like the LDC. The plaintiffs won a ruling in that case in March, effectively putting the land code revision process on hold, but the City of Austin has appealed the case.

Kelly said, “If the city had done things right the first time, we wouldn’t have had to go to litigation, and we wouldn’t be spending the tax dollars to fight it.”

Austin Police Department

One of the hottest debates in the District 6 race is over police funding. The city council voted in August to cut about $20 million from the police budget this fiscal year, while setting aside another $130 million that could eventually be reallocated for functions transferred to other departments.

The council simultaneously increased spending for EMS, mental health responders, and other services.

Kelly seized on the budget cuts as a campaign issue and condemned them, saying, “I fully intend on restoring funding to our police department.”

She warned, “Our city continues to grow and with decreased police presence we will have increased crime and increased response times. In any city government public safety should be paramount.”

However, Kelly also has said, “I believe our police department requires reform,” calling for thorough hiring screenings, increased training, and an audit of the cadet class curriculum.

During the campaign, Kelly has touted her completion of the Citizen Police Academy, a 14-week program to provide a working knowledge of APD; her endorsement by the Austin Police Association political action committee; and support from former mayor Lee Leffingwell, a Democrat who based his endorsement on Kelly’s support for law enforcement.

Kelly tends to refer to the budget vote as a decision to “defund” the police, though the immediate cuts that the council adopted amount to about 5 percent of the APD budget.

For his part, Flannigan has cast a number of key votes to reduce police funding and restructure the force. In June, he joined three other council members— Greg Casar, Delia Garza, and Natasha Harper-Madison—in voting against accepting a state grant for anti-robbery efforts.

Then in August he joined a unanimous council in voting to reduce the city’s police budget in the current fiscal year. He stated in an August 12 newsletter to constituents that “the changes represent a fairly modest immediate shift.”

Flannigan argued that the police budget has grown too fast in recent years, outpacing population growth, and that the cuts therefore make practical sense. Likewise, in a candidate questionnaire, he called the cuts “pragmatic” and “fiscally responsible.”

‘Reconstruct and Deconstruct’

Beyond the immediate APD cuts of $20 million, Flannigan has called for deeper budget cuts, a paradigm shift on policing, structural changes, and personnel changes. In his August 12 newsletter, he wrote, “we have barely begun the opening round.”

During the August budget deliberations, Flannigan introduced a rider that called for “redevelopment” of the APD headquarters. The budget rider directed the City Manager “to relocate all staff from property where APD Headquarters currently sits into other underutilized city facilities.”

It also called for the city manager to convene a “community-led effort to determine the specifics on how the property could be leveraged to address historic economic inequities in the black community….”

The rider stemmed from a proposal Flannigan earlier had made on a council message board to “expedite the demolition of the APD Headquarters,” which he claimed was “beyond the end of its useful life.”

During the August 12 budget meeting, Council Members Alison Alter, Leslie Pool, Ann Kitchen, and Kathie Tovo sought to amend Flannigan’s rider to strike out the requirement that APD move its staff out of the headquarters. That would have made the rider merely exploratory. They were voted down 4-7.

Flannigan also called for breaking up the Austin Police Department “into five distinct departments with independent department heads”: Department of Emergency Communications and Technology; Department of Patrol; Department of Investigations; Department of Traffic Safety ; and Department of Professional Standards.

Brian Manley

That proposal would decentralize leadership away from Chief Brian Manley, whom Flannigan has accused of “fear mongering” and called “an especially egregious actor.” In the new structure, the Director of Patrol could be one of five commanders in a “Commander’s Council” of the department’s five geographic regions, Flannigan wrote. That would “help democratize patrol leadership (and) ensure more diverse voices.”

“Please consider this proposal a starting point—there are lots of potential ways to break this structure down,” he wrote of his proposal. He titled his plan, “Police budget proposal to Reconstruct and Deconstruct.”

Environment

Flannigan says that he has been “proud to support every environmental initiative that has come across the dais,” including initiatives to boost the use of renewable energy, and the Water Forward Plan to ensure sustainable water sources and conservation for the region.

At a candidate forum, he also argued that his vision for the land code would help the environment, saying, “in the code rewrite, we were trying to take it a step farther by further eliminating and reducing impervious cover in areas where it had already existed, trying to cull back some of that runoff that’s already happening. In District 6, we are the only district that touches Lake Travis, and we are only one of two districts on Lake Austin.”

Kelly stated at the same forum, “Our city does have good plans in place to protect the community and the environment. The Balcones Canyonland area is very important to the residents of the district. Growing up, I jogged up and down a road that ran right next to where that area is. I’ve spoken to lots of residents who (want to see that area preserved),” she said.

While protecting these areas, the city also needs to ensure that there are good plans in place to protect residents from wildfire and floods, she said.

Candidate background: Mackenzie Kelly

Before launching her current council campaign, Mackenzie Kelly, 34, had an eclectic career and showed a knack for stirring up controversies and occasionally getting herself into trouble.

In 2010 she was convicted in Williamson County for driving with an invalid license and failure to appear. In 2011 she obtained an occupational license “for the purpose of Essential Need and travel to and from alcohol counseling,” according to a May 9, 2011 court order.

Kelly was arrested again in Travis County in August 2011 for violating her occupational driver’s license, though that case eventually was dismissed and expunged from her record. The Chronicle revealed the incident in a December 4 report.

Kelly told the Bulldog, “It was during this time that I learned to have a profound respect for the men and women of law enforcement, which not only influenced my decision to attend the Austin Citizens Police Academy but to run for City Council. I’ve always believed that it’s how we learn from and respond to life’s mistakes that build character. I’d like to think that I’ve grown a lot in the decade since.”

She also noted, “The reason for my occupational driver’s license was due to the failure on my part to pay fines on my license for tickets I’d received due to the Texas Driver’s License Responsibility program, which has since been repealed by the state legislature. The arrest and its record have since been expunged from my record, but the learning experience and growth from the incident has incredibly changed my life for the better.”

During a first 2014 council run, Kelly won 8.3 percent of the votes but attracted outsized press coverage, including an article in The Daily Dot, which was republished in the Washington Post, which referred to Kelly as “Gamergate’s first political candidate.”

“GamerGate” was an online debate over sexism in the video game industry, which involved targeted harassment campaigns against certain critics of gamer culture. Kelly took the side of gamers whom she thought were unfairly misrepresented in the press, writing, “It’s wrong to let journalists paint the gaming community as a hateful, male-dominated, cesspool.”

The article highlighted Kelly’s association with a community of online trolls, a pattern of online conduct that her detractors have suggested still continues.

More recently, Kelly ended up at odds with a former employer, Right at Home, a home healthcare company, which accused her of having downloaded privileged client information on her last day of employment in October 2019, and violating a non-compete agreement.

She was let go from another firm, A Place at Home, in March 2020, the same month that the former company filed a pre-lawsuit petition to request a deposition, according to Williamson County judicial records. She moved on but was again let go. “I was offered another job in the industry at a different company following that lay off, but, currently, and like many Austinites, I’m laid off due to a workforce reduction,” Kelly told the Bulldog Monday.

Andy Hogue
Andy Hogue

Andy Hogue, a volunteer spokesman on Kelly’s campaign, said the legal petition was a “fishing expedition” on the part of the former employer. He said such suits aren’t unusual in the home health industry where employee turnover is high. “They want to make sure a former employee is not snatching away clients.”

Overall, Kelly had worked in home health care since 2016, according to her LinkedIn profile. She won an award from AGE of Central Texas in April 2018 for “a professional commitment to the lives of elderly adults that goes beyond their normal job duties.”

Kelly said she also has worked as a communications officer for Austin’s Emergency Response Team (2011-2014), as an Emergency Management Technician for Williamson County (2010-2012), and as an administrator in the Round Rock Fire Department (2009-2010)

For a while she dabbled in making videos as a fitness instructor, she worked as a social media specialist, and she served as a volunteer firefighter at the Jollyville Fire Department.

Governor Rick Perry appointed her in 2012 to serve on the Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities, and she spent about a year on the Austin Commission for Women, as the nominee of D6 Council Member Don Zimmerman, Flannigan’s predecessor.

Kelly took classes in emergency and disaster management at American Military University from 2011 to 2016, though she didn’t earn a degree, according to the National Student Clearinghouse. She also took an online writing course  from Harvard Extension School in 2019. That program allows students to take up to three Harvard classes before applying for a degree.

Kelly is a mother of one and is married to Patrick Osborn, a news anchor and reporter for NewsRadio KLBJ. They tied the knot in 2019.

Candidate background: Jimmy Flannigan

For his part, Flannigan worked as a web developer before his first unsuccessful run for council in 2014. As reported previously by the Bulldog, Flannigan ran into trouble with his business and became heavily indebted, defaulting to multiple creditors. He worked for a law firm between his first council run in 2014 and his second council run in 2016.

Flannigan, who will celebrate his 43rd birthday before the month is out, has no criminal record in Texas, according to a Department of Public Safety database. Municipal court records show that he was ticketed for speeding on a state highway in 2017, and paid a $165 fine.

He studied business administration at the University of Texas at Austin and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in May 2001. Flannigan also earned an online Master’s in e-Business from the University of Phoenix, a for-profit school, in 2003, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Flannigan is unmarried. He owns a home in 12505 Shasta Lane in Williamson County, according to his 2020 Personal Financial Statement, though he resides at an apartment elsewhere in the district, according to the address listed on his Ballot Application.

Flannigan previously served as president of the Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce, and he co-founded the Northwest Austin Coalition in 2013 and is listed on the website as the email contact for the organization.

‘Who is the serious candidate?’

As the D6 runoff race draws to a close, each candidate is making final appeals to voters. Flannigan wants the December 15 runoff to be a referendum on his record. “The proof is in the pudding,” he says of his four years in office. “I have been able to solve problems all across this district in every single neighborhood, from drainage problems in Angus Valley to neighborhood speeding in Davis Spring, to pedestrian issues and school traffic issues along Anderson Mill Road.”

“I have built strong relationships across the dais and region in order to get it done. It’s why I’ve been endorsed both by the Chronicle and the Statesman, but also by the Austin Firefighters Association and the Austin/Travis County EMS Association, and by all of our currently elected Democrats.”

But he added, “It is not a partisan race.”

Kelly, too, is making the case that party affiliation shouldn’t be the deciding factor in the contest. Referring to Flannigan’s predecessor, Republican Don Zimmerman, she said, “I am not at all like Council Member Zimmerman, in that I like to listen to all different types of people, regardless of what their background is or their political leanings. Because I feel that I can learn a lot from somebody by just having a conversation with them.”

Zimmerman was known for his combative and bombastic style (he sued The Austin Bulldog for defamation in 2014 and lost, ending up having to pay a $10,000 judgment).

If Kelly wins, she would probably be deemed a rising star within the Texas Republican Party, which has fixated on Austin ever since the city’s controversial August budget vote to reduce the police budget. “Look her up,” Chairman Allen West said in a November 5 video, pointing to Kelly’s candidacy as proof that “we can be successful in Austin.”

A big question is how Kelly would govern. Would she merely serve as a mouthpiece for the state GOP, or would she move more to the center?

Flannigan has touted an endorsement by his former 2014 opponent, Jay Wiley, a Republican, who called Kelly “profoundly unserious in her public and private affairs.” Wiley said, “We have had enough clown shows in politics recently, we cannot afford another in our backyard.”

Flannigan called that endorsement “all the proof you need to know who is the serious candidate and who is the serious leader that District 6 needs.” Similarly, the Austinites for Equity PAC—whose treasurer Jack Kirfman, political director of AFSCME Local 1624—has tried to equate Kelly with the Trump wing of the GOP. The PAC sent out door-hangers that depict side-by-side images of Kelly and Trump, stating, “a Donald Trump follower is on the verge of getting elected to the Austin City Council.”

In a December 2 tweet, Kelly appeared to distance herself from Trump and his continuing claims of a fraudulent election, writing, “I’ve been so immersed in my campaign that I don’t have the bandwidth to pay attention to what’s happening nationally. Trump or Biden, I’m just happy to live in a country that holds fair and impartial elections.”

Inspection of contributions made by Mackenzie Kelly on the Federal Elections Commission website lists numerous people by that name, including contributions to Trump. But the location and occupation information do not match the D6 candidate’s profile.

She also tried to strike a conciliatory tone in remarks at the League of Women Voters forum November 30, saying, “I had a phone call recently with somebody who was a Democrat, who called me and said, ‘I don’t want to vote for the incumbent, but I’m concerned because I heard that you lean this way politically—can we talk about it?’ And after having a discussion, he was pleasantly surprised to hear that we actually agreed on a lot of things.”

“And it’s not just because I was telling him what he wanted to hear. It was because I genuinely saw his perspective, learned from how he felt about things and what was important to him. And we talked about it. We had a civil discussion. So my open-mindedness and ability to listen is something that I pride myself in.”

Trust indicators: Bulldog reporter Daniel Van Oudenaren is a journalist with more than 10 years experience in local, state, and international reporting.

Links to related documents: 

D6 Candidate Forum Transcript, September 30, 2020 (24 pages)

Jimmy Flannigan Budget rider on APD Headquarters, undated (1 page)

Jimmy Flannigan Personal Financial Statement, April 16, 2020 (11 pages)

Mackenzie-Anne Kelly Enrollment Record, American Military University, 2011-2016 (1 page)

Mackenzie-Anne Kelly Marriage License, April 12, 2019 (2 pages)

Mackenzie-Anne Kelly Order Granting Occupational License for Essential Need, May 9, 2020 (1 page)

Links to other Bulldog City Council election coverage:

Alter’s husband calls challenger Virden ‘racist,’ December 2, 2020

Council challengers get big bucks boost, November 17, 2020

Underdog Fuentes wins open D2 seat, November 4, 2020

Down to the wire: Jimmy Flannigan and his challengers, October 30, 2020

Council candidates raised nearly $1.2 million, October 27, 2020

Land battle: D7 candidates Pool vs Witt, October 22, 2020

Alter’s odds against winning, five to one, October 21, 2020

Three candidates vie for District 2 council seat, October 15, 2020

Council candidates so far raised $930,000, October 7, 2020

Transit tax draws attack from the left, October 2, 2020

Council Member Flannigan’s bad debts, September 24, 2020

Council candidates have voting records too, September 18, 2020

Developer dollars flow to favored candidates, August 27, 2020