Meet the Candidate: Forward-Looking Development

Luke speaks about Create Space, long-term economic planning, and the need to jumpstart innovation during the campaign’s first Meet the Candidate event. Click here for background on City Council shutting down the Create Space project. 

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Campaign Launch Letter

Dear friend,

I hope you’re well! I’m Luke Babich. I’m twenty-two years old, I’m your neighbor over on Washington Avenue, and I’m running to be your U. City Councilmember.

We know what matters: safety, transparency, and a strategy for the future of our city. Achieving these goals is complicated, but coming together to discuss them as a community doesn’t have to be. It should be simple, because these issues affect all of us.

University City is my home. It’s been my home since my parents moved here when I was three months old. It’s been my community through thirteen years in our public schools and four years at Stanford University, where my U. City baseball cap never left my side and my U. City pride never left my heart.

But today, the voices of my community are being swallowed up by the static sound of factionalism. It’s a sound devoid of signal, a mess devoid of message. And trapped in it, the issues that truly affect our lives are being treated as pieces on a game board.

Politics is not a game. It’s not a war, either. It’s a conversation. And as your Ward 1 City Councilmember, I will make U. City politics a conversation that everyone can take part in. In my campaign, I am talking to everyone to understand the issues that affect our city, building on the ideas and guidance of community members, policymakers, and administrators.

I will champion the forward-looking agenda our city needs.

Our government urgently needs to modernize its use of data. We need a government that knows how to keep our 110-year community safe in the 21st Century. That starts with emergency medical services. When our government committed us to a 5-year contract with a private ambulance provider, Gateway Ambulance, they were relying on data to tell whether or not the company was providing reliable care. But City Hall does not have the capacity to effectively analyze Gateway’s data. It lacked the experience needed to negotiate the terms of data-driven oversight. Our police officers deserve to have the best tools and training to leverage new technologies that can help keep our communities safe.

I will campaign for transparency and equity in city hall. We need to revisit the outdated clauses in our charter that prevent our elected representatives from communicating with our city administrators. We need to build closer collaboration between our government and schools. Above all, we need to put an end to the politics of exclusion — in all of its forms. Our city just isn’t that big: it’s time for us to start talking and planning like neighbors again.

I will campaign for the creation of a holistic, long-term plan for developing our partnership with Washington University. That partnership brings benefit to both sides, but it’s the responsibility of our government to evaluate those benefits, and compare them to the agreements reached in other communities, and make sure our citizens are getting a fair deal. Up to this day, our government still does not have a comprehensive, long-term plan for managing this important relationship in a way that puts the people of University City first.

I am running because I believe good policy can bring people together. I fell in love with politics serving this community as the University City High School Student President. That passion took me to Stanford University, where I studied political science. It took me to internships in our Department of Community Development and the office of Senator Roy Blunt in Washington, D.C. It took me to a research position in partnership with the City of San Jose, studying zoning and affordable housing. That passion took me all the way to China, where I learned to speak fluent Mandarin to be a bridge. Finally, it’s brought me home. Because above all, I love University City.

I’m Luke Babich. I’m 22 years old. I still believe that politics is about compromise, conversation, and courage. I believe that if we stand together, if you join me in the streets to knock on doors, if you join my campaign to host a discussion in your home, if you help me raise funds to make our message heard — we can do anything.

I’m your candidate for University City Council. Let’s Talk!

Luke Babich

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