Commission application number 228 submitted by Vyasar Ganesan on 07/28/2020

First Name Vyasar
Middle Name/Initial Mamta
Last Name Ganesan
Voter Unique Identification number 2120382517
Ethnicity Asian
Gender Male
Age 25-34
Education Level Post-Graduate Degree
Major Pursued English/Creative Writing
What is your occupation? College Counselor
Submitted Address
City Austin
State TX
Zip 78744
Verified Address
City Austin
State TX
Zip 78744
Do you have a spouse or domestic partner? No
Are you applying to be the student member of the commission? No
Have you been continuously registered to vote in the City of Austin for the last five years? Yes
Have you voted in 3 of the last 5 City of Austin general elections (or corresponding runoff if applicable)? Yes
Been appointed to a state or city office? No
Been elected to a state or city office? No
Been a candidate for a state or city office? No
Served as an officer, employee, or paid consultant of a political party? No
Served as an officer, employee, or paid consultant of the campaign committee of a candidate for elective state, county, or city office? No
Been a registered state or local lobbyist? No
A paid employee of the City of Austin? No
A person performing paid services under a professional services contract with the City of Austin? No
A person performing paid services under a professional or personal services contract to the City Council of the City of Austin or to any individual member of the City Council of the City of Austin? No
A controlling person of a person performing paid services under a professional or personal services contract to any member of the City Council of the City of Austin? No
Contribute or bundle one thousand dollars ($1,000) or more in aggregate to candidates for City of Austin elective office? No
Please describe your relevant analytical skills. I've worked in an incredibly diverse array of jobs. From my first, when I was sixteen and building fences, as a carpenter, to assisting with curriculum design for Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. I have a deep and abiding passion for maps, especially how the drawing of maps impacts everyday people and their ability to vote. I have researched American history, specifically Indian-American history, extensively, in fields like immigration, trade and food history. I have published nonfiction on subjects such as entertainment, media, personal narratives and historical events. Being a nonfiction writer means constantly analyzing things, examining stories, researching so deftly that you aren't looking for facts to suit the narrative, you're looking for the narrative the facts are telling you, and the parts that are missing, and who benefits from these facts being absent.
Please describe your ability to be impartial. I served as an admissions counselor at Texas State University for over three years. A large part of my job was reading applications, to decide whether or not a student was the right fit for the university. Many factors weighed on the decision making process - test scores, school performance, income level, essays, recommendation letters - and all I had in my power was the ability to recommend an admit or a deny. In addition, I also counseled students who called the university, seeking to know why they were denied. I often dealt with parents in this regard as well. I was able to make it clear, over hundreds of conversations, that the decision was not personal (though it certainly feels that way). I counseled them on their options if they wished to attend the university at a later point in time, perhaps as a transfer student. I was able to maintain impartiality that way - helping the university find the right students, and helping students find their right fit.
Please describe your appreciation for the City of Austin's diverse demographics and geography. To quote Leslie Knope, of the series "Parks and Rec," it's not where you're born, it's where you're from. After my parents split up, my mother moved us to Austin, when I was barely 1 year old. I have lived here ever since, with only the briefest of interruptions for college and grad school. I have seen this city go through the massive changes in the 90s to the massive changes of COVID-19. I love this city, more than anywhere else I have ever been. I love canoeing on the river, stuffing my face at Gourdough's, eating conveyor belt sushi off Airport and taking visitors to the Capital. And as much as I love it, I have a responsibility to speak about what's wrong with it. Austin is the most segregated city in America, that is fact. I-35 is a barrier - just look at the height of the buildings on both sides of it, it's obvious. As we have prospered, we have pushed out communities and individuals who helped make this city a place where people felt they could prosper. I appreciate that we have always been a diverse place, but it's starting to feel less ethnically diverse and more geographically diverse. Still, that is important. Texas is an amazing place, I fully appreciate that. But we can learn and benefit from the people who move here, from places like Ohio, New York, Washington and California. They have much to teach us, even if they are carpetbaggers. I'm from Texas, I'm from Austin. I know I wasn't born here, but I got here as fast as I could. I want to fight for this city's future.
Please provide your employment history. 2018-2020: College Counselor, LASA High School (class of 2008) 2015-2018: Senior Admissions Counselor, Texas State University 2014-2015: Substitute Teacher, KIPP Austin Public Schools 2014: Culinary Intern, The Food Network, Scripps 2012-2014: Student Intern for Special Projects, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University 2012-2014: Assistant Teacher, Summer High School Program, Columbia University 2012-2014: FOH Management, Miller Theatre, Columbia University
Please provide any other information you wish to be considered during the selection of the most qualified applicants for the Commission. I work in AISD, as did my mother, Mamta Ganesan. My family has lived here for over two decades. I have many connections within the Asian-American/Indian-American community here. I have a strong interest in local politics, and as much as I feel that I can contribute to this Commission, I feel I can learn as well. And that should be seen as a good thing, because all opportunities worth pursuing should be opportunities we can grow from. I believe in Austin. I believe in investing in Austin. And I believe in protecting the most vulnerable citizens of this city.
How did you hear about redistricting/Applicant Review Panel? Web advertisement, Social media, Austintexas.gov, From family or friend
Disclaimer Agreement Checked
Disclaimer Signature Vyasar Mamta Ganesan
District District 5
Does this application qualify? Yes