CANDIDATE: Andrew Grant Houston, Mayoral Candidate
- Website: https://www.agh4sea.com/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/agh4sea
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/AGH4SEA
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/agh4sea/
My name is Andrew Grant Houston and I am an architect, which I love because I find it to be the perfect combination of art and science. I recognize the issues that artists and musicians have with being able to live and stay in culturally-exciting cities like Seattle. We are an amazing city with a long history of arts, and particularly music. So it’s my priority to make Seattle an affordable city for anyone, regardless of their background, age, or industry.
Creative expression benefits us all, especially during extreme periods of stress like we are in now. I live in Capitol Hill. At the height of the pandemic and during CHOP/CHAZ, people used art to come together. This will always stick with me. In our most uncertain and life-changing moments, art allows us to still build and retain community. Arts reflect our innate culture, our lived experiences, and often make statements about society and community both as it exists now and as it could be.
In order for artists to thrive here, I will implement commercial and residential rent control. That means dance studios, small businesses, theaters and all of the people who entertain or frequent these places can weather the pandemic and recover. So I will invest $100 million into our Equitable Development Initiative (through a progressive Just Transition income tax), and put $10 million into the Cultural Space Agency (as a portion of the money I will divest from SPD). I will prioritize these investments specifically for our Black and brown communities. I know land acquisition is the fastest way to bring permanently-affordable housing into the city. We have plenty of people with brilliant ideas and the drive to make them happen; we just don’t give them the money they need to ensure their fruition. I will change that.
Giving coalitions and organizations money won’t be enough, though. We need to put money in the hands of everyday creatives, too. That’s why I will enact a Freelancer’s Bill of Rights (portable benefits, removing noncompetes, and more)—which includes anybody working under contracts with multiple clients, like freelance artists and videographers— as well as raising the minimum wage to $23 by 2025. Please check out my policies at agh4sea.com and find us on any social media @AGH4SEA!