Born to run: City council candidate talks about inspiration, what it means to pursue the “American Dream”


Mariana Faye Photography

Daniela Silva’s campaign covers many issues surrounding health care, efficient transportation, housing and environmental justice. Elections for Austin City Council are Nov. 8 and early voting opens Oct. 24.

Giving back to the community, public service and improving the conditions of areas have always been the beliefs of Daniela Silva, who is currently running for local office. Silva is running for Austin City Council in District 3. She was inspired to run for city council by many experiences during and after her collegiate years, which included serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Togo, West Africa during graduate school at Texas A&M University and aiding as a volunteer during Winter Storm Uri.

“My first time working in policy was interning for a state senator, and that’s when I realized what a broad reach of things public servants are able to weigh in on,” Silva said.

Along with interning for the senator, Silva, as a humanitarian, volunteered in her community in Austin by raising funds and organizing events that benefited her community. She believes that having community leadership is vital, but that leadership should be wielded by someone that will properly and efficiently serve every aspect of the community as a whole.

“We have to step up in these positions of leadership, so we can not only affect change from outside, but we can also try and affect change on the inside,” Silva said.

Silva and her campaign are grounded in principles that primarily concern housing, health care and environmental justice. However, she also emphasizes the need for more reliable and efficient transportation systems in the city, and she highlights the importance of public safety and public education systems.

“We just want to make sure that it’s a safe (and) great place for everyone to work; that they feel like they’re part of the group,” Silva said.

Silva wants to promote this agenda by advertising to citizens and encouraging them to be informed, help out in the community and improve the condition of the city district.

A lot of Silva’s cultural inspiration comes from her mother’s struggle of being an immigrant to the United States and providing for her family. She worked for Silva and her family to be able to move from a small apartment with banana crates as furniture to the suburban communities in Houston. Silva believes that is the spirit of the American Dream: to have better opportunities.

“(My mother) just worked really hard to get me the life that she didn’t get to have for herself, and I think for me that’s what so many immigrants come here envisioning when they think of the American Dream; as being able to give their kids all of the opportunities that they weren’t able to have in their home country,” Silva said.

At the end of the day, Silva wants to be known as a member of the Austin City Council that followed through with listening to issues and finding solutions to address them.

“I would like to be remembered as someone who listened to the community, that made the district feel heard and seen, that was very transparent, had an open line of communication with folks and always worked through a lens of equity in everything that I did,” Silva said.
For more information on Daniela Silva and her running for Austin City Council District 3, visit