After a decisive loss to Teresa Mosqueda Tuesday, Jon Grant has conceded his race for Seattle City Council in a statement that also put out a call to action for his supporters.
"It weighs heavily on me that we lost an opportunity to advance an agenda that promised a radical accountability to the most marginalized in our city," Grant said in conceding the race. He called the local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, of which he is a member and which knocked doors on his behalf, "a force to be reckoned with in future elections."
Grant also called on his supporters to testify in favor of a new tax to fund homeless services and another proposal to stop sweeps of homeless encampments. Grant supports a proposal currently being considered by the city council to tax large businesses in order to fund homelessness services and an expansion of the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program. The proposal currently has just four supporters on the nine-member council. The council will vote next Tuesday and Wednesday on changes to budget chair Lisa Herbold's proposed budget and will take a final vote on the budget the following week.
Grant's full statement is below.
Action: Mobilize for HOMES Tax & Proviso to Defund Homeless Sweeps.
When: Monday, Nov. 13th @ 1:00pm
Where: Seattle City Hall (600 Fourth Ave. 2nd Floor), Council Chambers.
The People for Jon Grant campaign is putting out a call to action to all of our supporters to show up in solidarity with the Housing For All campaign at the upcoming Monday budget hearing. The City Council will be deciding on whether to support two critical pieces of legislation.
A proposed budget proviso would put an end to ineffective and inhumane sweeps of homeless encampments where they are not unsafe or in conflict with other public use. The Housing, Outreach, and Mass-Entry Shelter (H.O.M.E.S.) tax would apply to businesses with gross revenue in excess of $5 million per year. About 90% of Seattle businesses would not be affected at all. This proposal would bring in approximately $50 million each year dedicated to permanent low income housing and related homeless services.
These are real solutions to our homelessness crisis. There is a direct correlation between the growth of homelessness and the impact corporations have in making our housing market unaffordable. Our campaign made taxing large corporations to build housing for the homeless a central plank, and over 43,000 Seattleites voted affirmatively for our housing agenda.
We are calling on everyone to show up and testify in support of these crucial budget proposals.
Jon Grant Concession Statement:
Today we concede the Seattle City Council Position 8 race. I have called Teresa to congratulate her and truly wish her every success in advancing our city forward. I encourage our supporters to work with her office to advance our shared priorities.
It weighs heavily on me that we lost an opportunity to advance an agenda that promised a radical accountability to the most marginalized in our city. I truly believe our platform had the potential to reverse the growing income inequality and housing insecurity that has already reached a crisis level.
Despite this loss there are still many accomplishments achieved by our campaign that will resonate in the years to come. Our campaign created the model for future independent grassroots candidates to use the Democracy Voucher program as a tool to compete with establishment politics. Without the support of any institutional players, outside the Democratic Party machine, we began this campaign last year with just 45 people in a room determined to show our city something new. One year later our campaign has grown to over 300 volunteers, funded by almost 4,500 donors, gathered the full $300,000 in Democracy Vouchers, and knocked on a stunning 50,000 doors across Seattle. It is no small accomplishment that we defeated a Chamber of Commerce-backed candidate in the Primary.
Another lasting impact is the explosive growth of the Seattle chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. Our campaign has cemented the DSA as a force to be reckoned with in future elections. DSA members knocked on tens of thousands of doors, allowing the organization to sharpen its political organizing and logistical skills in local elections.
We were so proud to collaborate with Michael Padilla and Kamau Chege, two amazing immigrant rights activists, to launch one of the most bold municipal platforms for immigrant justice. We demonstrated solidarity with the Native community by risking arrest with Mazaska Talks and 350 Seattle in a direct action that shut down 14 branches of Chase Bank for investing in destructive oil pipelines. We met with disability rights activists, to incorporate their needs into our platform. We testified alongside members of the CID Coalition and the Ethiopian Community of Seattle to push for more affordable housing to prevent cultural displacement. We spent months organizing within four homeless encampments, bringing in our volunteers to work with residents to improve site conditions to try to prevent city sweeps. In the process we mobilized homeless residents to use their Democracy Vouchers to expand their political agency in a City that wrongfully treats them as necessary casualties to a capitalist economy.
To all of our supporters who worked so hard on this campaign, know that elections are only one tool to create change. The movement may not have made it inside City Hall, but we have many other tools to advance this campaign's agenda through direct action, ballot initiatives, and community organizing. As a movement we will be watching our new City Council closely. With district elections coming up our campaign can share our Democracy Voucher playbook to new grassroots candidates to challenge incumbents who refuse to side with the community.
This has been a difficult race. After the results came in election night, a houseless resident of Nickelsville approached me and said, “You know, everyone back at the camp voted for you. Knowing a campaign like this is fighting for people like us, it gives us hope.” That is all I need to know that everything we worked for this year was worth it. For many of us, deciding not to fight and demand for more was never a choice.