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Commissioner, Brigid Shea
Precinct Two

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Brigid came to Austin in 1988 to start the Texas chapter of Clean Water Action. Prior to that she had been an award-winning journalist at NPR stations in Minnesota and Philadelphia. In Austin, she was a leader in the Save Our Springs movement of 1992 which resulted in Austin’s historic SOS law to save Barton Springs.

Shea was elected to and served on the Austin city council from 1993 to 1996 where she championed consumer, electoral, and environmental reforms. She has been an advisor to the LCRA, Seton Hospital, and the City of Austin. Her carbon-reduction work won the TCEQ Environmental Excellence award in 2010. In 2014 she was elected to the Travis County Commissioners Court.

Currently, Shea is the USA Board Chair of ICLEI, Local Governments for Sustainability, the oldest UN recognized, non-governmental organization representing local governments; Chair of Air Quality subcommittee of the NACo EELU Committee. Shea serves on the national board of Clean Water Action, is a member of the state board of Texas Campaign for the Environment, and is a former member of the Austin Chamber of Commerce Clean Energy Council. She was selected for the 2019 Women in Government Leadership Program of Governing magazine.

Shea was recently given a Lifetime Achievement award by the Texas Energy Summit.

Brigid is a native of North Dakota. She is married to John Umphress, a former Green Building specialist with Austin Energy and beekeeping entrepreneur, and together they have two sons.

View Commissioner Shea's Environmental Accomplishments

Started the Texas’ Clean Water Action Program in 1988. As Director, coordinated a successful national strategy to get cities across the US to pass ordinances banning the use of Ozone-Depleting chemicals;

Coordinated campaigns with several rural communities to oppose permits for hazardous waste disposal sites and worked with those communities to increase regulatory protections;

Headed up Save Our Springs (SOS), the groundbreaking central Texas water quality citizen initiative, to pass the Save Our Springs ordinance in 1992, protecting Barton Springs for generations to enjoy;

While serving on the Austin City Council from 1993 to 1996 -

  • Pushed passage of the first wind energy project in Texas in partnership with LCRA, the General Land Office (GLO) and Austin Energy;
  • Dramatically altered the pricing structure for water and electricity, incentivizing conservation and penalizing wasteful use;
  • Attended the Berlin UN Climate Summit in 1995, and pushed numerous climate related initiatives utilizing the city’s purchasing power;
  • Created the city’s first ever campaign finance law with matching funds paid for by lobby registration fees;

After retiring from City Council, worked as a consultant on the 10 year-long Austin Clean Water Program, which cleaned up the city’s leaking sewer lines in most of its creeks. The program won numerous EPA awards and was listed as one of the top infrastructure projects in the nation;

Co-founded a small consulting business, Carbon Shrinks, which advised large Carbon emitters how to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions; One of our projects, with Texas Lehigh cement, won the TCEQ environmental excellence award;

While serving on the Travis County Commissioners Court since 2015 -

    • Pursued numerous climate preparedness projects and initiatives;
    • Created the first of its kind neighborhood-based fire drill, which won the National Association of Counties best in class award;


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  • Pushed the conversion of the water supply for the county’s four large downtown buildings away from using treated drinking water for air conditioning and replaced it with treated wastewater (purple pipe water). The project saves approximately 10,000,000 gallons of water on the demand side each year, helping our region stretch our drinking water supply
  • Initiated jail efficiency and water conservation project reducing electric utility costs by 40% and conserving 28 million gallons of water per year on the demand side by swapping out the water supply and using treated waste water for the new plant cooling towers, low-flow fixtures and well-water to irrigate the inmate garden.
  • Promotes a similar conversion of air-conditioning supply water at the UT campus, the state capital complex, and large downtown high-rises, which could save as much as 1,000,000,000 gallons a year saved on demand side;
  • Sponsored and passed with unanimous support, Travis County’s first greenhouse gas inventory, Travis County‘s first climate action plan, and the County’s first net zero emission plan;
  • Co-sponsored and passed with unanimous support, Travis County’s PACE program – the first PACE program in Texas, which has resulted in almost $4 million in energy and water saving investment in Texas and over $120 million in Texas.
  • Sponsored and passed with unanimous support, a commitment to achieve 75% of eligible county employees telecommuting on a permanent basis, making Travis County a leader on this issue among local governments. This not only reduces our county’s second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, which is employee commutes, it also reduces traffic congestion, improves employee productivity and morale, keeps us safer during COVID-19, and will ultimately saves taxpayers money on office space and utilities.
  • Texas Energy Summit, Lifetime Achievement Award, 11/20

Successfully pushed an upgrade to our regional Council of Governments (CAPCOG) emergency notification system, Warn Central Texas. The region went from an 8% contact rate for emergency warnings to more than 70% contact rate, dramatically improving our effectiveness and resiliency in the face of climate disasters.

Currently serves on the board of Texas Campaign for the Environment, the national Clean Water Action board, several National Association of Counties (NACo) environmental committees, and as the current US board Chair of ICLEI, International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, the oldest global non-governmental organization, NGO, of local governments for sustainability.


Commissioner Shea's Newsletter

Rocky Mountain Institute

Transportation Innovation Meeting: Video from August 3, 2015

PACE Briefing Luncheon: Video from June 24, 2015

Property Tax Appraisal Forum: Video from May 19, 2015

Earth Day 2021: Video from April 6, 2021



For general information, please email [email protected]

Street Address:
700 Lavaca, Suite 2.700
Austin, TX 78701 (Map)

Phone: (512) 854-9222

Precinct Two Commissioner
Brigid Shea

Chief of Staff
Barbara Rush
(512) 854-1480

Mailing Address:
PO Box 1748
Austin, TX 78767

Fax: (512) 854-6446

Policy Advisor
Lani Oglewood
(512) 854-1144

Director of Communications and Engagement
Zara Stanfield
(512) 854-1143

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commissioner Brigid Shea

Brigid Shea

Street Address:
700 Lavaca, Suite 2.700
Austin, TX 78701 (

Mailing Address:
PO Box 1748
Austin, TX 78767

Phone: (512) 854-9222
Fax: (512) 854-6446

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