Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster joined Assemblywoman Betty Karnette and Councilmembers Suja Lowenthal and Patrick O'Donnell on Saturday to add his support for Al Austin, who is running in a May 1st special election to fill a vacant seat on the city council.
"Al is a thoughtful, energetic person who will be a tremendous addition to the city council," said Foster to supporters gathered at Vet Park. "I am enthusiastically endorsing him and I think it's essential that he win this election."
Foster cited Austin's "distinguished record in the community" and applauded the candidate for "doing the hard work" on local boards and community groups, "making sure he made a difference in people's lives."
Austin laid out his vision for Long Beach to a group of supporters.
"I want to lead an economic and civic rennaissance in the central area," Austin told the crowd. "I will work to attract more financial institutions, professional buildings and family restaurants. I want our youth to have more recreational opportunities."
The candidate then paid special attention to a group seldom spoken of by politicians, talking of a city where downtown business leaders work with him to create jobs for urban youth.
"Our teenagers have very little opportunity in this city," said Austin. "I want to push and have a conversation with our city's business leaders to create job opportunities for our urban youth."
Austin is running in the May 1st special election to fill the unexpired term of Laura Richardson, who left the council after being elected to the State Assembly.
Austin previously served as chair of the city's Citizens Police Complaint Commission, co-chaired the committee that ran the recent Martin Luther King Day Parade and serves on the board for a number of local community groups.