Everywhere we go, it seems, Jon Grant is there. Whether at a march for black lives or for fossil-fuel divestment, a HALA meeting or a No New Youth Jail protest, a rally for Charleena Lyles or a homeless-encampment sweep, Grant has proven himself both ubiquitous and consistent, painstakingly growing a grassroots campaign that relies on a hell of a lot of real conversations with Seattleites. And it shows, even down to the finances: He’s gathered more than $128,000 in campaign donations from $25 Democracy Vouchers—which earned him specific ire in a lawsuit against the program by those who’d prefer to shut out those voices. Combined with his experience leading the Tenants’ Union, this suggests a clear dedication to a lot of the goals we’d hope to see cemented through an already-progressive City Council.
The race for Position 8 is crammed with excellent candidates. But Grant has a bold agenda, and he’s been pushing it in Seattle for a while. On police reform, he, like Nikkita Oliver, wants more effective civilian oversight with true accountability measures, such as giving the Community Police Commission authority to demand investigation on specific issues; he also wants to make the city’s negotiations with the police union open to the public. His most formidable opponent, Teresa Mosqueda, argues that that kind of transparency would overpoliticize the process. That may be, but it is a price we should be willing to pay to bring more accountability to such negotiations. Grant also wants to end sweeps of homeless encampments and create more 24/7 low-barrier shelters. He urges divesting city pensions from fossil fuels, and even got himself arrested at a Chase Bank protest over Keystone XL. He would push for an end to the statewide ban on rent control, and wants to give tenants the right to collectively bargain with landlords.
On that note, of course, he’s long stood at the vanguard of affordable-housing policy. While it’s so far unclear how realistic it is to follow his platform and require that 25 percent of all units in new housing developments be affordable—this disincentivizes developers from building at all, the argument goes—we’re nevertheless on board with the idea that while HALA is a great start, it still does not do enough for poor and working people in this city.
There has been some criticism that Grant, a white, cisgender, heterosexual man, would take a space that could be occupied by a candidate who would bring more diversity to the Council. And while we agree that the City Council doesn’t need another white guy, we think it would benefit from this particular white guy, who seems to rarely forget the diverse constituencies to whom he answers as a citizen leader. So fill in the circle next to “Jon Grant” on your ballot, envelope it, and head down to the post office. And if you bump into Grant on the way, say hello.
Read the rest of our endorsements here. Primary ballots will be mailed Wednesday, July 12. Ballots must be postmarked by Tuesday, August 1. Wondering where your ballot is? Check the county’s Ballot Tracker.